Is it fair to say that the Oct. 30 matchup in East Lansing between No. 19 Michigan and No. 20 Michigan State is starting to look like a pretty big deal?
The Spartans and the Wolverines are both 3-0 through the first three weeks of the 2021 season, with both programs showcasing a rushing attack that looks nearly unstoppable.
For Michigan State, it all starts with Kenneth Walker III. The Spartan running back transfer from Wake Forest has accumulated 493 yards on 57 carries with five rushing touchdowns through the first three weeks of the season - good for the top spot in the nation.
The Spartans' feature back burst onto the scene in week one, putting up 264 yards and four rushing touchdowns on the road against Northwestern. After a relatively quiet week two performance, Walker once again put together a monster performance in week three - rushing for 172 yards on 27 carries as the Spartans knocked off the No. 24 Miami Hurricanes down in Florida.
Thanks in large part to Walker's dominance on the ground, the No. 20 Michigan State Spartans now look more than capable of playing with any team in the Big Ten conference. Based on his early success, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that some within the Michigan State fan base are starting to use the "H" word when it comes to the highly-talented transfer.
Oddly enough, fans in Ann Arbor are having some of the same conversations. For Michigan, it's all about sophomore running back Blake Corum. Quickly becoming one of the most electric backs in all of college football, Corum's athleticism has been on full display through the first three weeks of the season. Corum currently leads all Michigan rushers with 407 yards and 7 touchdowns on 48 carries, good for an impressive 8.5 yards per carry.
On Saturday, Corum became the first Michigan running back to open the season with three consecutive 100-plus rushing yard games since Mike Hart - former Michigan running back and current Michigan running backs coach - did it in 2007.
Given all that Corum and Walker have achieved through the first quarter of the season, it's not all that crazy to start entertaining the idea of both entering the Heisman race in the near future if the production continues - but not yet.
Here's how both backs compare on the ground through three weeks:
Kenneth Walker III
- Ranks No. 1 nationally with 493 rushing yards
- Averaging 8.6 yards per carry on 57 carries
- Week One Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week
- Week One vs Northwestern: 23 carries, 264 yards, 4 touchdowns
- Week Two vs Youngstown State: 7 carries, 57 yards, 1 touchdown
- Week Three vs No. 24 Miami: 27 carries, 172 yards
- Ranks No. 3 nationally with 407 rushing yards
- Averaging 8.5 yards per carry on 48 carries
- Leads UM with 8 total touchdowns in 12 quarters of play
- Week Two Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week
- Week One vs Western Michigan: 14 carries, 111 yards, 1 touchdown
- Week Two vs Washington: 21 carries, 171 yards, 3 touchdowns
- Week Three vs NIU: 13 carries, 125 yards, 3 touchdowns