After an inexplicable loss to Indiana to likely crush bowl hopes, it’s time for Mel Tucker to make major changes for Michigan State football.
Inexplicable. Unacceptable. Embarrassing. I can’t come up with enough words to describe Saturday’s Michigan State football loss to Indiana in East Lansing.
It just doesn’t make sense at this point.
The Spartans raced out to a 24-7 lead at halftime and held that after an Elijah Collins touchdown in the third quarter, making the score 31-14. It felt like the game was in hand.
And then chaos ensued.
Indiana scored quickly on the next drive, cutting the lead to 10. And then a tipped pass led to a pick and Indiana’s ball again inside Spartan territory. The Hoosiers would kick a field goal to pull within seven and then on their next drive in the fourth quarter, they’d go down and score the tying touchdown.
Scottie Hazelton’s defense had no answers for Indiana’s run game. Dexter Williams II only passed the ball a handful of times for under 50 yards and Michigan State still let the Hoosiers climb back into the game.
But Michigan State was driving in the final minute, getting all the way inside the 10-yard-line and setting up a game-winning field goal with no time left. Ben Patton lined up with the hopes of drilling the game-winning and bowl-clinching field goal from extra point range, but he missed badly. And then in overtime, a bad snap led to a blocked field goal for the Spartans. Luckily, they responded by blocking Indiana’s field goal try.
Ross Els, the special teams coordinator, had a bad game. Which caps off a really bad season. Sure, there’s still one game left in order to make a bowl, but winning at Penn State is unlikely.
The season is likely over.
Hazelton’s defense failed to stop the run, Jay Johnson’s offense couldn’t seem to pick up 2-3 yards on third and fourth downs, and Els’ special teams looked inept (again).
It’s time for Mel Tucker to make changes.
Michigan State football’s ultimate goal with Tucker at the helm is to become a powerhouse. You can’t do that with assistant coaches that cannot be trusted in crucial spots. Ultimately, the game was lost on some Tucker decisions down the stretch (like the field goal try), but he has to surround himself with better coaches.
As tough as it’s going to be, Tucker needs to say goodbye to a couple of coaches, at least, this offseason and prove to the fanbase that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win big in East Lansing.
He can’t let what crushed Mark Dantonio also cause his demise.