East Lansing, MI – With eight minutes left in the fourth quarter and a 42-point advantage leaning Iowa's way, Mel Tucker pulled Rocky Lombardi; making the switch to Payton Thorne.
He only attempted one pass on fourth-and-2, which was incomplete to TE Tyler Hunt, but he didn't seem to mind.
"It was definitely nice last week to kind of get that first snap out of the way, that college snap," said Thorne.
Tucker made the same decision in the second quarter against Indiana after Lombardi threw two interceptions.
"And then this week, it was nice to get in there and get some real action," he said.
But on Saturday, the Illinois native received much more playing time, finishing 10-for-20 with 110 yards and one pick.
His elusiveness and quickness in the pocket extended some plays and, at times, gave the Spartans life, but the drives still went nowhere.
Nevertheless, given the opportunities, it's likely the young quarterback will improve.
"Wish I would have played a little bit better today, obviously, but yeah, it was nice to get out there and get some snaps," said Thorne.
He looked more efficient than Lombardi, yet there's no guarantee he'll be the starter from here on out; however, his preparation won't change.
"I've been making sure to try to prepare like I'm playing because you never really know as the backup when that times going to come … I'm going to do everything I can to be ready and have the guys around me ready – who's going to take snaps; that's not up to me," Thorne said. "I'm just going to come ready every day."
Regardless of who is under center moving forward, it seems Lombardi showed his support and continued to be a leader off the field.
"He was looking at stuff on the sideline and trying to help me," said Thorne. "He's a great guy, and I know that he was trying to help me on the sidelines ... all of us want to play, and ultimately it's not up to us."
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