For the last home game of the 2022 season, the Michigan State Spartans took on the Indiana Hoosiers. The Spartans jumped out to a big lead, but allowed the Hoosiers to climb back in regulation and send the game into overtime. The game eventually went into double overtime, and Indiana came away with the 39-31 victory.
In the postgame press conference, Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker arrived first to give his opening statement and take questions.
“Obviously (we’re) very disappointed in not being able to close this game out,” Tucker said to start. “We got outplayed in the second half, you can point to any aspect of the team, offense, defense or special teams. We had opportunities to execute and didn’t do it for 60 minutes.”
Throughout his statement, Tucker continued to relay his disappointment for his senior players competing in their last game in Spartan Stadium and for the fans who stuck it out during the snowy and freezing cold weather.
“It’s going to be death by inches,” Tucker said to sum up his points. “Right after this, I’ll turn on the film and I’ll want to vomit because one block missed here, one guy not in his line on kickoff here, missed field goal here, missed tackle.”
Essentially, having no margin for error was Tucker’s tone and message at the end of his time at the presser.
Following Coach Tucker, quarterback Payton Thorne and safety Xavier Henderson came out together.
Thorne started off by stating that the Spartans had a silent locker room after the game concluded. He continued with saying that his teammates were “in disbelief” at the outcome of the game that “its stings.”
“Three plays, one on kickoff, where a dude goes untouched, two on defense,” Henderson said. “We just have to tackle better. I just have to tackle the dude.”
When both Thorne and Henderson were asked what was different about this game, Thorne started it off by saying, “I wouldn't say things were feeling different. We were moving the ball well on offense, defense playing really well. And then in the second half, we had a few mistakes that cost us pretty big. Offensively we need to stay on the field a little bit better at times and then just finish drives and get in the end zone.”
Henderson had a similar sentiment.
“Defensively from last game, it wasn’t too different,” Henderson said. “In Rutgers...we kept them out of the end zone better...The secondary, we have to do a better job of getting on the ground. But, I don't think it was too different from last game, we just finished last game better.”
Lastly, senior running back Elijah Collins took questions. Collins seemed to get choked up throughout the interview as he shared his feelings about this possibly being his last time playing at Spartan Stadium.
“What is going to happen when it’s all said and done?” Collins asked to start. “It’s going to be a game where I left it all out of the field or it’s like I look back and I have some regrets, and I ain’t going to have no regrets.”
When asked about his eligibility moving forward, Collins plainly stated that the Penn State game was next up in his mind and his eligibility would be decided after that.
“It was surreal, it was everything that I had kind of dreamed of truthfully,” Collins said. “Having my family here and being able to go out there and show everyone what I could do and representing Spartan Nation the way I know they wanted to be represented. Have that like ‘Spartan Dawg’ mentality where you don't quit, you don't give up no matter what the circumstance is and you just keep going and pushing on.”
It was obvious that disappointment was felt by everyone at the postgame press conference and in Michigan State’s locker room. But, MSU can still make a bowl game with a win next week and Penn State is now on the clock.