Michigan State football is now the worst team in the Big Ten

Rocky Lombardi, Michigan State football (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Rocky Lombardi, Michigan State football (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

Michigan State football started off its season with low expectations for new coach Mel Tucker. Somehow, he fell short of those expectations in a bad loss.

I’d like to start you off with the positives from this game, but looking back, it’s not so easy to find any positives. In fact, this piece won’t have nearly as much structure as you might have become accustomed to from me. Somehow after a game where we looked like Rutgers’ little brother, I don’t have it in my heart to practice good english principles. For this one, you’re getting my scattered thoughts.

It all started on the offensive side of the ball. The team couldn’t stop turning the ball over and even when they weren’t turning it over, not much was happening on offense. Somehow, after waiting through an excruciatingly long offseason, we ended up watching a starting backfield of Rocky Lombardi and Connor Hayward. Half the reason that I was excited to watch Michigan State football this year is because the offense was supposed to provide hope for the future.

The offensive play-calling was really bad. I don’t know how anybody can rationalize going for it on fourth down multiple times when the offensive line was getting no push all day long. The runs up the middle were not working at all. Elijah Collins barely saw the field and when he did, he was hit the second he got his hands on the ball.

That wasn’t even the worst part of the game, though. The worst part was the defense that looked like they hadn’t played a game of football in their entire lives. To put things into perspective, Rutgers scored 56 points total in eight Big Ten games last season. In the first half alone against Michigan State, they notched half of that total. The only reason they didn’t run up the score is that they decided to start burning the clock to ensure a win.

For a program that has been at the top of football defensively, even in down years, this is a really bad look for the Spartans. Granted, the offense turned the ball over a whopping seven times, but this is a Scarlet Knights team that hasn’t been able to put up points regardless of the circumstances.

Even more importantly, this is a Rutgers team that hasn’t produced very many turnovers at all. Seven turnovers will mark their highest total since 2008 against USF, and the number doesn’t even include a pair of fumbles that Michigan State picked back up.

I’ve been preaching it the entire offseason on Twitter: Mel Tucker is not the savior for Michigan State. Yes, he was left with a relative dumpster fire of a program. That being said, there is no excuse for the type of performance that this team. Rutgers may not have had a last-second coaching change, but their program was in a worse spot than MSU. They went through the same pandemic that MSU did and showed up to the game miles ahead of the Spartans.

A lot of people want to say that this is only a single game and we shouldn’t hit the panic button. I think that’s overly optimistic. Can you imagine a coach who gets blown out by Rutgers at home in his first game and finishes his career with a national championship? Conference championship? Second place? Probably not, because it has never happened and will not happen here.

It’s obviously too early to say that he’s a failure of a coach but man, I don’t even know what to say at this point other than this: Tucker has a long way to go before he earns the respect of Michigan State fans. Expectations were not high, and somehow he still fell very, very short of them.

Bunker down guys, it’s going to be a long season.

Next. 3 takeaways from ugly loss to Rutgers. dark