East Lansing, MI – Playing quarterback, no matter the level isn't easy; it's among the highest-profile and pressure positions in sports.
It's a spot on the field that receives all the glory or blame, depending on your team's trajectory.
And through two weeks of the regular-season, Rocky Lombardi looked good, especially on the road vs. Michigan, where the Spartans were able to take advantage of their speedy wide receivers; capitalizing on throws down the field.
However, the redshirt junior struggled in games vs. Iowa and Indiana, throwing for a combined 248 yards, five interceptions, and no touchdowns while completing 44% of his passes.
But it goes beyond the stat sheet; Lombardi hasn't eaten plays when he should; instead of taking a sack or throwing the ball out of bounds under pressure, he attempts to do more, resulting in costly turnovers.
"We thought it was some decision making early in the game in the first half, and then Payton was the next man up, and so we gave him an opportunity," said Tucker. "It was as simple as that."
The mistakes rang true, and the first-year head coach pulled Lombardi early in the second quarter.
From there on out, Payton Thorne would take every snap for MSU.
"We'll look at the film, and we'll evaluate it more, and then we'll see what we need to do moving forward," Tucker said. "But there's no position set in stone on this team; quarterback position or any other."
After three-year starter Brian Lewerke graduated, Lombardi won the job in the offseason, beating out Theo Day, Thorne, and true freshman Noah Kim, but is now in jeopardy of losing what he worked for.
Yet, linebacker Antjuan Simmons thinks it was just a bad outing.
"You're not going to have an All-American or all-conference type game every game," said Simmons. "You're going to have an off day, and today, Rocky just had an off day, and it happens."
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