Everything Mel Tucker said after Michigan State beat Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Michigan State went on the road to Illinois to face the nation’s leading rusher and a defense that came into the game ranked No. 1 nationally in rushing defense, total defense, scoring defense and No. 2 in rushing defense. And the Spartans left with one of the most satisfying victories of the Mel Tucker era, knocking off the No. 16-ranked Illini 23-15.

It was the first meeting between the programs since 2019 in East Lansing, and MSU snapped a two-game skid against the Illini. With eight defensive players suspended, and several others suffering injuries throughout the afternoon, the MSU defense rose up at critical moments, holding Illinois to 1-for-6 on fourth-down attempts, forcing and recovering a fumble, sacking quarterback Tommy DeVito three times and recording nine tackles for loss.

The victory was crucial for MSU’s bowl aspirations, moving the Spartans to 4-5 overall with three games to go. Two more victories will guarantee them a 13th game. Next up is a home date with Rutgers next weekend.

Everything Tucker said in his press conference after MSU’s upset of the Illini is below:


“Really proud of the way our guys played today. Not just the way they played today, but the way they prepared throughout the week. It was just very focused, very confident, just very intentional and deliberate about everything that we did this week in our preparation. We were able to come here and play complementary football, offense, defense and special teams working together throughout the game, 60 minutes. Just really proud of our guys, our coaching staff. Just proud of everybody involved.

“Had a lot of support this week from our administration, supporting our team, in taking the next, right steps the best we could this week. We felt good coming to the game that we were doing all we could to do put ourselves in position to play well, and our players were able to execute today for 60 minutes and were able to get the win.”

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