Stock up: The Killer Bs and Elijah Collins
Last week, I left Jalen Berger off the list for stock up. Despite his 7.5 yards per carry against the Broncos, I was underwhelmed, perhaps due to the year of Kenneth Walker III dominating any and all competition he faced. After this week, I have to include Berger on the list.
Berger, Jarek Broussard, and Elijah Collins all had a day on Saturday. The trio combined for over 230 rushing yards as well six (!) touchdowns. Berger was the feature back again and led the group with over 100 yards and three touchdowns. He was also the only Spartan to have a rush of over 20 yards. Berger did everything the Spartans needed. He punched the ball in, racked up rushing yards, and stayed healthy.
After a quiet week against the Broncos, Broussard got a lot more playing time and touches against the Zips. Broussard had 81 yards and two touchdowns on the day, rushing 15 times. Broussard had the first touchdown of the game and added his second in the third quarter.
Elijah Collins came into the game after the Spartans had a commanding lead, and it was clear that the 2019 version of Elijah Collins was back. Collins started the day as the team’s captain and finished it with 57 rushing yards and a touchdown. He held the highest average for yards per carry, averaging 7.1 on his eight attempts. He was the last Spartan to join the party in the endzone but was obviously one of the crowd favorites.
I will preface this with that the Spartans have yet to face a rush defense that was even in the top 50 in 2021. This week will be much better for deciding the true stock of our running backs this year. That said, I believe that the stock is up for all three and should remain there.
If Berger continues to churn out 100-yard performances, it is very likely he ends up being listed on an all-conference team. Broussard has been good, but unspectacular so far this season. When the season continues and teams are more worn down, I believe that he will prove to be much more invaluable to Michigan State football.
As for Collins, Saturday’s performance secured him the No. 3 spot on the depth chart, if there was any debate. Running backs coach Effrem Reed was very complimentary of the senior in his press conference. While Collins might not receive any awards or recognition, he is available as the “next man up” if the Spartans deal with injuries. All three proved their worth on Saturday.