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Mel Tucker Responds To Pat Narduzzi's Peach Bowl Comments

The Spartans' head man was forward-looking at Big Ten Media Days...

It didn't take long into his Big Ten Media Day session before Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker was asked about the recent comments made by Pittsburgh head coach and former MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi.

In recent weeks, Narduzzi made headlines for stating that he believed the Panthers would have beaten the Spartans by three touchdowns in the 2021 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl had starting quarterback and first round draft pick Kenny Pickett played in the game.

"He is a 21-point difference, okay," Narduzzi said of Pickett. "Michigan State gets their butt kicked in. It's at least a 14-point difference in (backup quarterback) Nick Patti plays the whole game. I can tell you that. That's how I feel."

Tucker was asked about Narduzzi's above assertion, but wasn't in the mood to reflect on a game that was played seven months ago.

"I really prefer not to get into hypotheticals, especially games that were played in the past and were decided on the field," Tucker said.

Michigan State beat Pittsburgh, 31-21, in the Peach Bowl, and did so without their best player as well — Doak Walker Award-winning tailback Kenneth Walker III.

Of course, Narduzzi never acknowledged the fact that the Spartans were also without their best player, even in a follow-up interview where he doubled-down on his opinion.

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"That's just confidence," he said. "That's no disrespect to the Big Ten or Michigan State. It's just about Pitt and about the ACC."

Beyond his comments regarding Pickett, Narduzzi went a step further with his jab at the Spartans and the Big Ten Conference.

"If that's one of the best Big Ten teams, let's go to the Big Ten and win it every year," Narduzzi also said of the 2021 Michigan State squad.

The Panthers are coming off their first ever ACC Championship, and their first conference championship of any time since 2010.

Michigan State is looking to end its own seven-year championship drought, with its last conference title coming in 2015. Tucker was emphatic in stating his goals for the 2022 Spartans, which included winning every game on their schedule and finishing first in the Big Ten.

"We are extremely hungry, and we do have a chip on our shoulder," Tucker said. "We've got a lot to prove. We have a very high standard of performance, and we have decided as a program to attack that standard every single day.

"There's a lot of work being done in East Lansing right now as we speak. We're actually putting the work in. We're chopping wood every day, and the goal for us is to win every game on our schedule. That's our stated goal. Our goal is to finish first. That's our goal. And we need to bring a championship to East Lansing. So that's what this is all about."