East Lansing – Michigan State opened the season featuring a new head coach and quarterback while losing 38-27 to Rutgers.
During his weekly presser, Mel Tucker said the "fierce (quarterback) competition" was ongoing amongst Rocky Lombardi, Theo Day, and Payton Thorne.
And although he couldn't precisely remember when the coaching staff gave him the good news, Lombardi learned he would be the starter sometime before or after Tucker elected not to release a depth chart, but the job became his prior too kickoff.
"Ultimately, Coach Tucker obviously wants to win games, and he wants to put the best players out there," said Lombardi. "And I think it was a combination of my experience, my leadership, ultimately trying to be the best player that I can be."
In a losing effort, the redshirt junior finished 31-for-43 for 319 yards, three touchdowns, and three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble).
"I think overall; obviously, at the end of the day, my performance wasn't good enough to win us the game. In my mind, I need to be better," Lombardi said.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound quarterback "did some good things" and kept the ball moving downfield in a one-dimensional offense throughout the game.
I'm not exaggerating; MSU rushed 39 times for 50 yards and no scores.
Outside of a few impressive runs by freshman tailback Jordon Simmons, the backfield showed no life.
That's not good.
And the lack of push/holes created by the offensive line led to Lombardi's insufficient protection, yet, he still managed to complete 72% of his passes.
However, some miscommunication between him and Jalen Nailor caused an interception, and by failing to feel the pressure on his blindside, Lombardi fumbled.
So, it wasn't a bad debut for the Iowa native; with seven turnovers, no one can entirely blame Lombardi for the loss.
But there's plenty he needs to work on.
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