East Lansing, MI – There weren't high expectations for Michigan State heading into the college football season.
We all know why, but nobody predicted the Spartans would give up 38-points and lose to Rutgers, a team that had lost 21 straight conference games, in Mel Tucker's debut.
Nor did anyone think the offensive line would look perfect with new schemes and three weeks of padded practices, but the Scarlet Knights pushed them around with ease finishing with three sacks and 12 tackles for a loss.
If the Spartans can't stop Rutgers' defensive line, who can they stop?
"I know our fans expect more from this football team than what we showed today, and we expect more out of ourselves," said Tucker. "There's a higher standard."
After drawing some favorable matchups when the Big Ten reworked the conference-only schedule, MSU arguably dropped what, at the time, looked like one of the easier games.
And turnovers were the main culprit.
"Those were disappointing, obviously. Turnover margin is the largest determining factor in winning and losing games; college and pro ... you turn the ball over seven times, it's going to be tough to beat anyone," Tucker said.
To see similar numbers, Michigan State fans would have to travel back to the early '80s, when Muddy Waters led the Spartans to a 10-23 (8-18 B1G) record in three years.
It's not the start anyone wanted for Michigan State, fans and Tucker alike.
Yet, here they are knocking on the door of rivalry week, staring down Michigan, and prepping for a trip to Ann Arbor with a loss in their back pocket.
Can they pull a miraculous upset against the Wolverines?
If not, the rest of the season looks bleak, and the road to .500 feels much further away than it did before today's kickoff.
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