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Notes & Quotes: Mel Tucker credits the fans “deep and thick” in the stands for helping Michigan State defeat Penn State

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With the win over Penn State, the Michigan State Spartans stay undefeated in The Woodshed and ended the regular season on a high note for senior night.

Penn State v Michigan State Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Spartan Stadium, also known as “The Woodshed,” was packed last night with hardy fans hoping to see the Michigan State Spartans beat the Penn State Nittany Lions for the Land Grant Trophy.

After a scoring play from quarterback Payton Thorne to wide receiver Jayden Reed on fourth-down-and-15 to essentially ice the game, Michigan State came out on top of Penn State. With a final score of MSU 30, PSU 27, the Land Grant Trophy was secured and senior day was a success for the players that took the field for the last time.

Thorne and running back Kenneth Walker III were up first in the postgame press conference. Both had very positive points from the game and both seem to be looking forward to the bowl opportunity to come.

When asked about the multiple long conversions he threw, Thorne started off by saying, “Guys did a great job of getting open and executing...It was everybody, it was all of us together.”

Walker echoed the sentiment that it was a team effort: “We were playing for our seniors,” Walker said. “We wanted to send them out with a win for the last home game...It was a lot of tough yards...I feel like we did a great job today.”

In regards to the large flu outbreak amongst the team that was reported on multiple times before the game, Thorne gave out some praise to multiple players who stepped up even if they did not feel well.

“This guy right here sucked it up...he was hurting yesterday,” Thorne stated while pointing to Walker sitting next to him. “I know Kevin Jarvis wasn’t feeling great, Jake Panasiuk wasn’t feeling great, it was a lot of guys who had the flu during the week...We had IVs in here a couple days ago...It was really a group effort...Just battling through.”

Finally, Walker was asked if he thought this game against Penn State was his last in Spartan Stadium. He gave a sly response and showed a bit of a smile.

“I’m not sure right now,” Walker said.

Head coach Mel Tucker was out next to give a statement and answer some questions.

“Being undefeated at home, in The Woodshed, playing a rivalry game,” Tucker started. “It was so important to our guys...We dug in and just eliminated the noise...This group of guys is a really special group.”

Tucker thanked his staff and the fans for pushing the team through in these tough conditions. He mentioned that fans were in The Woodshed “deep and thick” and them staying for the whole game really gave the team the boost that they needed.

Both Thorne and Coach Tucker mentioned that for the upcoming bowl game, they expect to get some of the guys back that have been out over the past few games, either from injuries or from this recent flu outbreak.

Lastly, when asked about his recent contract extension, Tucker reiterated some statements he has made before.

“I really have not had an opportunity yet to reflect on that,” Tucker said. “The preparation for the game was our main focus...I said from the beginning that I believe that Michigan State is a destination job, it’s not a stepping stone, and we want to bring a national championship to East Lansing...We want to be in that conversation year in and year out.”

Finally, defensive end Drew Beesley and wide receiver Jayden Reed were out last for a few questions.

When asked about that fourth down scoring play, Reed mentioned how big of a moment it was.

“That was a really big play that we needed,” Reed began. “That all goes to trust from the offensive coordinator to the quarterback to the o-line to the receiver...I’m glad I came down with it...It’s a huge play.”

Beesley was extremely thankful for his time playing at MSU and mentioned multiple times how glad he was to get it done one last time.

“It being my last game in The Woodshed, I was extremely motivated,” Beesley reflected. “Not just for myself but for the rest of my seniors...The snow was actually a lot of fun...I made sure I savored every moment.”

Everyone had positive remarks about how the day went and the excitement for bowl game possibilities is now on the clock.

Thanks for a great year in Spartan Stadium! As always, Go Green!


Mel Tucker Full Remarks

Payton Thorne and Kenneth Walker III Full Remarks

Jayden Reed and Drew Beesley Full Remarks