East Lansing — It's hard to look at Michigan State's 73-14 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday and find a standout individual performance.
When nearly 70 players get into the game and the production is spread throughout, that's understandable. But for junior wide receiver Macgarrett Kings, Saturday's game was a glimpse at what he can provide and a reminder to him of how fortunate he is to be back on the field.
"Everything went well for me today," Kings said. "It was just getting back in the groove and making plays as I usually do when I'm out there."
Kings had one catch for 18 yards, carried the ball twice for 36 yards and came a shoelace away from returning a punt for a touchdown. But in the spring and heading into the season, there was no guarantee what he might be allowed to do.
After a DUI arrest in early April, Kings was suspended for all of spring practice and it was unclear if, or how much, he would play in the season-opener. He played, but it was little more than returning punts. Against Oregon, his time on the field wasn't much greater.
But on Saturday, the explosive side of Kings was back.
"I don't feel like I've been slowed (by the suspension)," Kings said. "Just getting back out there was my main thing. I knew if I could get a couple of series under my belt I'd be ready to go. But missing spring practice was a big thing for me with the timing with the quarterbacks and not being out there with my teammates. Just being here is a big thing, but I don't feel like I was a step behind."
After a promising 2013 where Kings had 43 catches for 513 yards and three touchdowns, plenty was expected of him this year. But that's when he ran into trouble off the field.
He said his punishment from the team didn't include anything other than sitting out the spring, but he was able to learn some valuable lessons.
"To take nothing for granted and nothing is promised to you," Kings said. "Like Coach D always says, it's an honor to be a Michigan State Spartan and everywhere you go you carry that around with you. They say, 'That's Macgarrett Kings from Michigan State.' That's good enough for me and all I need to know."
Now that he's back and his playing time is increasing, Kings is convinced he can create big plays, even after his teammates gave him a hard time for getting taken down by a lineman on his 43-yard return in the first quarter.
"It should have been a touchdown," Kings said. "I was running too fast and just trying to go, but there will be plenty more of those to come, no matter who we're playing. I'm going to try and take it back every time I touch it."