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Notes & Quotes: Mel Tucker was “proud” of the way Michigan State played against Illinois

Also, Tucker did not have an update regarding the suspended players.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Illinois Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State head football coach Mel Tucker spoke to the media on Monday, following the Spartans’ 23-15 victory over No. 16 Illinois.

Tucker opened the press conference expressing how “proud” he was of the way his team played on Saturday.

Michigan State’s running game got going a little bit as the Spartans posted 112 yards on the ground on Saturday — MSU’s highest total on the ground since the win over Akron on Sept 10. The defense also got some timely stops.

“We played complementary football for 60 minutes,” Tucker said. “We got the job done against a very good opponent.

“Offense, defense and special teams were working together to get the job done.”

The run game and the play of the offensive line has been the downfall of the Spartans’ offense this season. Heading into the Illinois game, Michigan State averaged just 97.5 rushing yards per game.

The more productive rushing attack on Saturday, led by Jalen Berger’s 81 yards, was a positive sign for Tucker.

“The line did a really nice job in the game,” Tucker said. “Our yards per carry was efficient.”

Also, the offensive line only allowed one sack against one of the top defenses in the country.

“We did a really nice job in pass protection,” Tucker said. “It was a solid performance and I believe still that our best football is ahead of us.”

Field goal kicking has been a concern this season for the Spartans. Agains Illinois, Auburn transfer Ben Patton made the Spartans’ first field goal since the aforementioned Sept. 10 game versus Akron.

“We need more consistency,” Tucker said about the kicking game. “That’s something that we’re working towards every single day.”

Of course, the suspensions from the tunnel incident at Michigan Stadium is still a big story regarding the Michigan State football program.

“We don’t have any new information,” Tucker said. “We’re taking it one day at a time.

“If something changes, then we’ll adapt and adjust,” Tucker added.

The Spartans return home against Rutgers this Saturday. Both teams are 4-5 heading into this game.

“We hit the ground running this morning,” Tucker said. “We had really good meetings.”

Michigan State hasn’t played a home game since Oct. 15 when the Spartans defeated Wisconsin 34-28 in double overtime.

“We’re looking forward to getting back home this week,” Tucker said. “Our players and our staff are really excited about getting back in front of our home fans.

“I expect the stadium to be rocking,” Tucker continued. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”

MSU hosts Rutgers on Saturday, Nov. 12 as both teams look to get back to a .500 record and keep bowl game hopes alive. Kickoff is at noon ET and the game will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network.