East Lansing, MI – After Michigan State hired Mel Tucker on February 12, he immediately began preparing for his coaching debut.
The outcome? A 38-27 season-opening loss against Rutgers, a team no Big Ten school lost to in two years.
The Scarlet Knights hadn't defeated Michigan State since they joined the conference in 2014, so the reaction from MSU fans was anticipated.
"That's to be expected. I believe this is my 24th year of coaching, and when you don't have success, there's disappointment," Tucker told reporters on Tuesday. "There's disappointment from the coaching staff; there's disappointment on the players' side of it and then the fans and everyone involved. Because the expectation is to have success and do that on a consistent basis."
Rutgers, which featured one of the worst offenses in the country last season (No. 129), jumped out to a 21-7 lead early, taking advantage of nine Michigan State turnovers if you count turning the ball over on downs.
"I think that if we can take away the turnovers, it's a completely different game," said redshirt junior Rocky Lombardi. "I don't think that that game represents at all what we can do offensively, and ultimately some of the turnovers hurt our defense too."
Regardless, Tucker expects his team to move on from any game, win or lose, emphasizing the "24-hour rule."
"We watched the film; we see the things that need to be corrected and put a plan in place to do that and to make sure the players understand where we fell short and then how we can get better and give them a path to success," Tucker said.
"Also, you want to look at the positives and things that you feel that you can build upon, and certainly we had some of those in the game. And after you make those evaluations about the previous game, then you quickly turn the page and focus on the next game. We've done that; we're well into our game plan for the school up the road."
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