After an impressive showing against in-state rival Michigan, Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III has received Big Ten Player of the Week honors.
Week 9's Offensive Player of the Week: Kenneth Walker III of @MSU_Football— Big Ten Football (@B1Gfootball) November 1, 2021
◽ Rushed for 197 yards and 5 TDs on 23 carries vs. MICH
◽ Scored all 5 of MSU’s TDs in the 37-33 win
◽ Became fastest Spartan to reach 1,000 career rushing yards (153 att.)
️ https://t.co/dHM5laKgB4 pic.twitter.com/7yAVcpiYEI
Walker gashed the Wolverines’ defense, collecting 197 yards on 23 carries, while adding five touchdowns. He also had three catches for 11 yards in the receiving game, and was a huge reason why Michigan State defeated Michigan by a final score of 37-33.
Over the weekend, Walker was also named Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week and Pro Football Focus gave Walker the same honor.
For the season, the junior running back ranks top-10 in a variety of categories, including rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and carries and yards per carry. He leads the nation in rushing yards per game at 149.25 per contest.
In total, he has 175 carries for 1,194 yards and 14 touchdowns. That’s good for a 6.8 yards per carry average. In the passing game, Walker has added eight catches for 36 yards and another touchdown.
Walker trails only Syracuse’s Sean Tucker in total rushing yards. Tucker leads the nation with 1,267 yards on the ground. However, Tucker has played in nine games, while Walker has appeared in just eight. Tucker has also carried the ball 26 more times.
In terms of future awards, Walker could be in store for some big time hardware. He is squarely in the mix for the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award and the Doak Walker Award, among others.
Walker has already been listed as one of the 15 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award. He also was the Maxwell Award Player of the Week.
The Spartans travel to Purdue next Saturday in a game where Walker could solidify his candidacy in these races. Purdue ranks ninth in the Big Ten in rushing yards allowed, letting opponents rush for an average of 139.6 yards per contest.
Outside of Walker, Charles Brantley was named to Pro Football Focus’ Defensive Team of the Week. Brantley secured the game-winning interception against the Wolverines this past Saturday.
Brantley was seeing plenty of game action with Kalon Gervin still at MSU, but since Gervin’s departure via the transfer portal, Brantley has seen even more time. His play culminated with a game-changing play against the Wolverines.