Kenneth Walker III wins Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week


MSU running back Kenneth Walker runs the ball in the Spartans’ 31-13 road win over Rutgers/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Allie Cohen, Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter

After Saturday’s record-breaking performance that contributed to the 37-33 Spartan win against No. 6 Michigan, junior running back Kenneth Walker III has been named the Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week. 

Walker set the record for most touchdowns by any player against the Wolverines with five and ended the game with a total of 197 yards on 23 carries (8.6 avg). His scores came on runs of 27 and 8 yards in the second quarter, a 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and 58 and 23 yards in the fourth. While MSU was down 30-33, Walker broke free and scored his game-winning 23 yard touchdown with 5:08 left on the clock to hand Michigan its first loss of the season. 

Walker’s five rushing touchdowns tied the second -most in school history (record: six by Blake Ezor vs. Northwestern in 1989; five by Javon Ringer vs. Eastern Michigan in 2008). Walker’s 197 rushing yards were the third-most by a Spartan against Michigan (T.J. Duckett with 211 yards in 2001; DeAndra Cobb with 205 in 2004). 

MSU running back Kenneth Walker hurdles Western Kentucky safety Beanie Bishop in the Spartans’ 48-31 win over the Hilltoppers on Oct. 2, 2021/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Walker’s first carry of the game was for 8 yards, putting him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season, making him the fastest Spartan to reach 1,000 yards in a season in terms of carries in MSU history (153 carries; previous, Javon Ringer in 2007 with 154).

The running back continues to lead the FBS in rushing, averaging 149.2 yards per game. He also ranks among the FBS leaders in total rushing yards (second with 1,194), rushing touchdowns (third with 14), scoring (third with 11.2 ppg), total touchdowns (third with 15), total points (fourth with 90), all-purpose yards (fifth with 153.8 ypg) and yards per carry (ninth with 6.8 avg.). According to Pro Football Focus, Walker leads the FBS in rushing yards after contact (896) and is fourth with 31 carries of 10-plus yards.

Walker has five 100-yard rushing games this season (career-high 264 vs. Northwestern in Week 1; 172 vs. No. 24 Miami in Week 3; 126 vs. Western Kentucky in Week 5; 233 vs. Rutgers in Week 6). 

After this weekend, Walker is one of the leading candidates on Heisman Trophy watch, and the Spartans have moved up to No. 5 in this week’s AP Poll and No. 6 in the AFCA Coaches Poll. MIchigan State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) returns to action on Saturday to face Purdue (5-3, 3-2) in West Lafayette, Indiana at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ABC.