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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Here are the Michigan State football players who helped or hurt their stock in the Spartans’ 56-7 loss at Ohio State on Saturday:
S Darius Snow: Back in the home state of his father, Eric, and uncle, Percy, the sophomore turned up with big hits and a career-high 16 tackles against the Buckeyes. It continues to be a season of emergence for Snow, who leaped junior Michael Dowell to start at nickel back and took over Saturday in the second half for strong safety Xavier Henderson, who suffered a shoulder injury. Snow only trails Henderson with 79 tackles.
P Bryce Baringer: Baringer’s journey has been a unique story since he emerged as an emergency walk-on who took over punting duties, was left off the roster the next year and returned to become the starter. On a day he was one of MSU’s game day captains, the senior continued his strong season by averaging 49.7 yards on his nine attempts including five inside the 20 and punts of 74 and 61 yards and three others 50 or longer. Baringer ranks third in the Football Bowl Subdivision with a 49.4-yard average
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WR Keon Coleman: It was a coming out party for the freshman receiver, an electric athlete who also plans to play basketball after the season. Coleman caught his first touchdown pass on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Payton Thorne and finished with season-bests of three catches for 27 yards. With top wideouts Jalen Nailor (right hand) and Jayden Reed (right foot) banged up, it could be a chance for Coleman to step into a larger play-making role against Penn State.
RB Kenneth Walker III: Walker’s Heisman Trophy candidacy took a significant hit as he ran for a season-low 25 yards on six carries, and he only had one other touch on a 4-yard catch plus one other target in the passing game. The junior appeared to be hobbled with a nagging ankle injury, did not play after halftime and remains a question mark going into Saturday’s regular-season finale.
Defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton: The learning and adjusting to Hazelton’s 4-2-5 defense remains slow growth. MSU gave up 108 points and 1,176 yards — 528 of them on the ground, 648 through the air — the past two seasons against Ohio State. While the Buckeyes do to many teams, opponents have been doing similar things often to the Spartans. Through 18 games under Tucker, also a defensive coach by trade, Hazelton’s defenses allow an average of 437.4 yards and 29.3 points a game.
S Angelo Grose/Xavier Henderson: MSU’s veterans in the middle of the secondary struggled all afternoon in coverage. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud split Grose and Henderson for two long touchdowns on post passes, and he threw another to a wide-open receiver after pre-snap communication issues between the Spartans’ safeties that led to them colliding and tripping over one another.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III's Heisman hunt takes hit