Mel Tucker Says Michigan State's Goals Are Ahead of Them After Upset Loss vs. Purdue

Erin WalshNovember 7, 2021

EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 30: Michigan State Spartans head coach Mel Tucker paces the sideline during a college football game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines on October 30, 2021 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, MI. (Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 3 Michigan State Spartans suffered a disappointing 40-29 loss to the unranked Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday, but head coach Mel Tucker is ready to move on from the defeat. 

"All of our goals are ahead of us," Tucker said, per ESPN's Tom VanHaaren. "We're going to block out all the noise, we're going to circle the wagons. The most important voices are going to be the voices inside of our building. And then we're going to go back to work and get ready for Maryland. That's what we got to do."

He added: "We're going to own it — give those guys credit where credit is due. They beat us, and we need to execute better at a higher level."

The Spartans were outplayed on each side of the ball Saturday. Boilermakers quarterback Aiden O'Connell completed 40-of-54 passes for 536 yards and three touchdowns, compared to Spartans signal-caller Payton Thorne, who completed 20-of-30 passes for 276 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. 

On the defensive side of the ball, the Spartans allowed Purdue to convert on 11-of-18 third downs, compared to Michigan State's offense, which went 6-of-13 on third down. The Michigan State defense also allowed 9.9 yards per pass. 

Tucker also told reporters after the game that he'll need to review film to decipher why his defense struggled a lot against Purdue:

"What's next? That's what's most important," Tucker said. "What's next? We have to get on the film, get the courage to understand why. We need to get those things fixed, and then we need to get ready for Maryland. And that's the only thing there is to do."

The Michigan State defense entered Saturday's game as one of the worst in the Big Ten, allowing 424.6 yards per game. However, the team's offense ranked within the top five, averaging 444.6 yards per game. 

Despite Saturday's loss, the Spartans still have a chance to make the College Football Playoff. Beating Ohio State later this month would be huge for Michigan State, and winning the Big Ten would be the team's best chance at returning to CFP contention. 

However, it'll be difficult for Michigan State to defeat Ohio State as they haven't beaten the Buckeyes since 2015. 

In addition to Ohio State, the Spartans are also set to face Maryland next weekend and AP No. 22 Penn State in their regular-season finale on Nov. 27.