EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — When Mel Tucker walks into Michigan Stadium on Saturday, it will be the first time he’s coached in a game at the Big House when it’s 100,000-strong since 2003.

Back in 2020, the only fans staring back at him were the cardboard cutouts, and he can’t wait because in his eyes, this is what big-time college football is all about.

He knows what’s at stake and he made sure to let everyone else in the organization know it as well this week.

Tucker said they talked about how big of a game this is all week in the team meetings.

That included a history of the Paul Bunyan Trophy, how MSU got into the Big Ten and more.

Tucker said his favorite thing about the Paul Bunyan Trophy is that right now, it’s in East Lansing.

When it comes to keeping Paul in E-L, Tucker said the team needs to play with toughness, be disciplined, and be selfless.

“Those are our core values,” Tucker said.

Most importantly, Tucker said he wants his team to play a full 60-minutes of football, because up to this point, they haven’t done that this year, he said.

In the win over Wisconsin, Tucker said they were able to string together more good plays and he said they’ve gotten more defensive players healthy in the last few weeks.

Tucker is hoping to be the first Spartan coach to win his first three meetings against the Wolverines, and his quest will begin on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.