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Kenneth Walker III, Connor Heyward help teams clinch season-ending wins

Connor Heyward and Kenneth Walker III both made big plays to clinch wins for their respective teams.

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Kenneth Walker
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Both Kenneth Walker III and Connor Heyward ended their rookie regular seasons with huge games, clinching wins for their respective teams.

Two Michigan State rookies in the NFL have been busy making names for themselves all season long. Kenneth Walker III led all rookie running backs with over 1,000 rushing yards and Connor Heyward made some truly clutch plays for the Steelers.

With the season coming to an end on Sunday evening, both guys had one final opportunity (at least in the regular season) to impress and potentially show coaches that they deserve to start in 2023 and beyond.

Neither disappointed.

Both guys made plays on Sunday that essentially locked up wins for their respective teams and that’s not even an exaggeration.

Heyward made a 27-yard catch against the Browns in the fourth quarter on a third-and-long that set up a touchdown drive and Walker made play after play against the Rams, including a 21-yard burst in overtime, to send the Seahawks to the playoffs.

Let’s take a look at all of the big plays Walker made to help send his team to the playoffs with a win over the Rams.

Walker finished the game with over 100 rushing yards and ended the season with 1,050 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

If it weren’t for him stepping up in the backfield, Seattle may not be heading to the playoffs this year (Lions fans wishing that was the case).

Heyward, on the other hand, isn’t headed to the playoffs with the Steelers. They just missed the postseason, but he ended the year with a nice game against rival Cleveland.

With the Steelers up 20-14 and facing a crucial third-and-8 near midfield, Kenny Pickett stepped back and hit Heyward up the middle for a huge gain. And his catch gave MSU fans flashbacks to the Peach Bowl when he scored a late touchdown against Pickett’s Pitt Panthers.

This catch led to a huge insurance touchdown that sealed a big season-ending win over the Browns.

Heyward finished the game with three catches for 45 yards and the season with 12 receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown. If he continues to play like this, he’ll have a long NFL career.

Michigan State’s rookies really showed up this season and led their respective teams to some nice wins, including in the season finale.

The future is bright for Kenneth Walker III and Connor Heyward.

Writer, co-owner of Spartan Shadows. Michigan State and college football expert at FanSided and formerly of The Detroit News. Expert on all things Michigan State. Connor Muldowney has written about Michigan State since graduating from the university with a degree in journalism back in 2013. Ten years of experience as a Michigan State writer/reporter.

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