EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michigan State’s matchup against Akron reminds coach Mel Tucker of his childhood in Ohio.  

When Tucker sat down with 6 Sports Director Audrey Dahlgren, he discussed how he developed his love for the game as a young boy growing up in Ohio.

“It was just automatic that you were gonna play ball. That’s one thing I loved about growing up in Cleveland and growing up in Ohio – that football was such a big part of our culture,” Tucker said.

Tucker emphasized that the MAC football conference, home to the Akron Zips, is not to be underestimated.

Some MSU super fans might know that Tucker was recruited himself by Akron back when he played football in high school.

“I have a lot of respect for that program. They’ve always had really good players there. Football’s important in the state of Ohio. For us to host them, it was another opportunity for us to put our best foot forward in front of our fans,” Tucker said.

Tucker also discussed the two key injuries his team suffered on the defensive side of the ball.

Linebacker Darius Snow was dealt an incredibly tough blow, being knocked out of the season after just one game. Meanwhile, safety Xavier Henderson also picked up an injury, but the hope for now is he’ll be back at some point this year.

Tucker said he’s feeling for Snow and doing his best to show support.

“It is just a very tough time. I think we’ve all been in that position or seen someone in that position. There’s a lot going through your head. For me, it’s just important for me to show him the support,” Tucker said.

MSU’s showdown with Akron kicks off at 4 p.m. on Saturday, the Spartans hope to extend their seven-game home winning streak to eight.

You can watch Tucker’s whole interview with 6 Sports at the top of the page.