Kruse makes immediate impact in his return

Senior offensive lineman makes season debut after missing first three games with a leg injury

When Michigan State senior Keith Mumphery scampered in for a 33-yard touchdown run, senior offensive lineman Travis Jackson sprinted downfield to the end zone to celebrate.

But Jackson was not running toward Mumphery. Instead, he was running toward fellow senior offensive lineman Connor Kruse, who had entered the game for his first series of the season.

“Coming back off an injury and just seeing him get down there and get his block, just got me so excited,” Jackson said. “It’s so tough for him, being a senior, getting injured like he did and seeing him get downfield and make a big block on his first series was just really special, probably for him, and so special for our offensive line because we’re so close as a family.”

The former walk-on missed the first three games with a leg injury suffered in preseason camp, but on the third drive of Saturday’s 56-14 win against Wyoming, he came in. He made his mark quickly, as he had the final block to usher Mumphery into the end zone.

”That was my first time getting out and running on a play and it felt good to actually get downfield and make a downfield block,” he said. “I got up and Travis is sprinting at me and, obviously (Keith Mumphery) scored a touchdown, but Travis is my best friend.

”He came running at me and just gave me the biggest hug.”

He played the next few drives at guard and center, but Kruse said he had a little stiffness after halftime so coach Mark Dantonio let him rest the rest of the game.

Sophomore offensive tackle Jack Conklin knows the importance of Kruse’s return.

”It’s huge. It gives us more depth, which we needed,” he said. “He is a leader on the offensive line it’s nice having him back. He’s another physical guy who can move well for being so big.”

Kruse said he is looking forward to taking that step as a leader on the offensive line.

”This year I was lucky enough to have a more vocal role on the team and hopefully they catch up on that,” he said. “That’s why I came here.

”Michigan State is about effort and toughness and that’s what I love.”

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