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Turnovers help Michigan State upend No. 24 Miami

Sep 18, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne (10) drops back before attempting a pass during the first half against the Miami Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Kenneth Walker III rushed for 172 yards, and Payton Thorne passed for 261 yards with four touchdowns, leading visiting Michigan State to a 38-17 upset victory over No. 24 Miami on Saturday afternoon.

Michigan State (3-0) got two TD receptions from Jalen Nailor, with one each from Walker and Jayden Reed.

Thorne’s final TD pass was a 39-yarder to Nailor with 4:12 left in the game. It came one play after Thorne’s sneak picked up a fourth-and-1 first down by just a few inches, and the Spartans up by just seven points (24-17) at the time.

Walker averaged 6.4 yards per rush, forcing numerous missed tackles.

Hurricanes quarterback D’Eriq King completed 38 of 59 passes for 388 yards and two touchdowns. Miami wide receiver Charleston Rambo caught 12 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns.

However, King lost two fumbles and was intercepted twice, and Miami (1-2) was unable to force a turnover.

Michigan State, which led 10-7 at halftime, opened the scoring with a 23-yard Matt Coghlin field goal early in the second quarter.

Miami took a 7-3 lead as King hit Rambo on fourth-and-2 for a 3-yard score. Rambo caught five passes for 70 yards on that drive.

Coghlin then missed a 39-yard field goal wide right, wasting a 51-yard catch and run by Tre Mosley.

Miami’s Andres Borregales missed a 27-yard field goal wide left with 6:10 left in the second. Just prior to that miss, Miami tight end Will Mallory dropped a routine catch in the end zone.

Michigan State capitalized, taking a 10-7 lead on Thorne’s 7-yard TD pass to Walker on a third-and-goal play.

The Spartans stretched their lead to 17-7 in the third quarter on an 11-yard TD catch from Nailor.

Miami closed the deficit to 17-14 on King’s 14-yard TD pass to Rambo on third-and-10. King’s TD pass came in tight coverage between two defenders.

Following a King fumble, caused by the pass rush of Drew Beesley and recovered by Jacub Panasiuk, the Spartans took over at the Miami 13. Thorne then hit Reed on third-and-seven for a 10-yard score and a 24-14 lead.

Miami cut its deficit to 24-17 on Borregales’ career-long 55-yard field goal, with the late 39-yard TD pass to Nailor clinching the Spartans’ victory.

–Field Level Media

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