MSU forging ahead as it waits for official word from Maryland

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EAST LANSING, MI – NOVEMBER 14: Head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans looks on before the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Spartan Stadium on November 14, 2020 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

LANSING, Mich (WLNS)- Michigan State’s game versus Maryland on Saturday in College Park is still very much in the air as of Tuesday afternoon, but per Mel Tucker, the Spartans are proceeding as if it’s business as usual.

“I know that they want to play,” said Tucker. “I talked to Locks (Mike Locksley) this morning for a long time. We had a good talk. I know they want to play and so we’re preparing to play.”

Of course the Terrapins want to play, but will they be able to? A number of their players tested positive for COVID-19 last week and as a result they had to cancel last Saturday’s game versus Ohio State.

So while the Spartans wait, Tucker wants his team to focus on playing complimentary football.

“We have to give ourselves a better chance to win,” said Tucker. “Turnovers. Penalties, and field position are things that are very, very obvious. If you take care of the ball, you’re penalty free, and you win the field position battle you give yourself a much better chance to win. In the games that we’ve lost we haven’t done that.”

MSU’s 24-0 loss to then No. 10 Indiana is the most recent example. The Spartans committed four turnovers, three coming in the first half, and two were interceptions by starting quarterback Rocky Lombardi. Tucker benched Lombardi in the second quarter after the Hoosiers jumped out to a 17-0 lead for freshman Payton Thorne and now it’s a toss up as to who will start in College Park.

“It was a mixed bag with both quarterbacks,” said Tucker. “There’s nothing really set in stone on this team so every position is in evaluation every day. I watch every bit of practice tape. I watch the walk-ons. We’re evaluating everyone and we’re going to go with who think gives us the best chance to win and we’ll see how the week goes.”

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