The Michigan State Spartans kicked off the 2021 season with a 38-21 victory over Northwestern on the road making it their third straight victory in as many years over the Wildcats. You really couldn't have asked for a better start for the season as the Spartans dominated the game from the first snap to the last.
The obvious choice here, Kenneth Walker III was incredible. Mel Tucker and the staff had high expectations in for Walker this season after bringing him in from Wake Forest over the offseason. The junior running back had 264 yards on 23 carries and added four touchdowns. The 264 rushing yards is good for 7th in Michigan State history behind the likes of Eric Allen, Lorenzo White, Javon Ringer, Clinton Jones, and Le'Veon Bell.
The offensive line was incredible in creating holes for Walker to run. It looked much improved from a season ago. The past few years this has been a position group that has been much maligned the past few years, but had a huge performance helping the team gain over 500 yards of total offense. MSU's starting lineman were Jarrett Horst, Kevin Jarvis, Matt Allen, Blake Bueter, and AJ Arcuri. Nick Samac and Luke Campbell also saw snaps.
The defense bent, but didn't break. Michigan State's defense allowed only 21 points and made some huge stops in some critical moments when Northwestern had chances to get back into the game. They were backed up inside the 25 on Northwestern's first possession of the first and the second half and held Northwestern to a 38 and 43 yard field goal which were both eventually missed and kept the Spartan momentum.