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Jalen Berger isnt Kenneth Walker but hes
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Michigan State tailback Jalen Berger, a redshirt sophomore transfer from Wisconsin, had an unenviable task a week ago when the Spartans hosted Western Michigan in East Lansing.Berger was the first starting tailback in the post-Kenneth Walker era for the Spartans.Now, Michigan State was never going to ask Berger to be the next Walker. Replacing the 2021 Doak Walker Award winner is too big of a burden to place on any one player.What the Spartans needed Berger to be was a hard-running, contact-absorbent running back who could open Jon Feliciano Jersey up Michigan States play-action pa s game.And thats exactly what they got.Berger racked up 120 yards rushing on 16 carries and a score in MSUs season-opening victory. He, along with Colorado transfer Jarek Brou sard, provided a constant threat that Western Michigan had to respect, and that opened the field for quarterback Payton Thorne to take deep shots to his receivers.I think you can kind of get a little bit of a picture of what our plan was going into the game, MSU head coach Mel Tucker said of his rushing attack. Use both backs and run the ball some, have our play-action and take our shots.Thorne threw for four touchdown pa ses in the opener, most of which came against man-to-man coverage as the Broncos had to dedicate defenders to the box to slow down the run.The Spartans consistently ran for around five to six yards per carry last Friday, and that chipping away paid dividends when Michigan State needed to mount a drive to put the game away.Leading 21-13 with just over ten minutes left in the game, the Dion Dawkins Jersey Broncos had stayed in the game far too long for the Spartans liking. Two plays after Thorne hit sophomore wide receiver Keon Coleman for a 26-yard gain to give MSU some breathing room, Berger popped off a 50-yard run on a zone read that took the Spartans all the way down to Western Michigans seven yard line.The defense had been overflowing a bit on the outside zones all game, so I just felt like if I cut it up and hit backside I could probably pop one, Berger said. Thats what Id been waiting for the whole game.Michigan State then handed the ball to Berger on four consecutive plays until the redshirt sophomore found the end zone, putting the Spartans up 28-13 and ending Kahale Warring Jersey any hope of a Bronco upset.Scroll to ContinueThats what we want to do every time were in the red zone, Berger said. We want to score the ball every chance we get, and I feel like weve got to work more on finishing because there were some times we were in the red zone and we didnt come out with any points.Again, this is what Michigan State needs from its ground game in 2022. Walker covered a lot of deficiencies the Spartans had on that side of the ball a year ago. Some of those deficiencies havent been tested yet this season, but this roster is deeper than it was a year ago.Michigan State has weapons it likes on the outside, but the Spartans must be able to keep defenses honest with their ground game.When you look at Berger and Brou sard , I think you can see that both of those guys are capable of carrying the football for us and being productive, Tucker said. As long as we have Tremaine Edmunds Jersey good offensive line play, and the tight ends block, and the receivers block, and Payton gets us in and out of the right plays, and those guys take care of the football, we can get production at the running back spot.Berger got a vote of approval from his quarterback following Michigan States Week 1 win as well.Jalen played really well today, Thorne said. Weve seen that from him for a while now. We knew we had a pretty good back. We have a few good backs, you know? Hes shown good things. I thought he ran the ball really well.Tucker echoed his quarterbacks sentiments, reinforcing that Michigan State has seen consistent production from Berger throughout fall camp.Pretty much what we saw in practice, Tucker said on what he saw from Berger. He runs hard, hes got good vision, he usually Zack Moss Jersey falls forward on contact, and he when he gets out he can make some plays. Hes good out of the backfield catching the ball as well.As good of a debut as it was for Berger, the former Wisconsin Badger was not satisfied with his performance.I felt like I left a lot of yards on the field, Berger said. I had a dropped screen, which, you cant let that happen, especially on third down. And one of the runs, I kind of tripped up and thats just like a simple drill that we do in practice every day just put you hand down, get back up and score.Thats just the attitude that Tucker is looking for never satisfied, never comfortable.Michigan State may not have Walker in the backfield in 2022, but theyve got a guy they can rely on to pick up consistent yards and put pre sure on a defense. That will do just fine.

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