Mel Tucker remembers Miami game as program-defining win

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker hugs wide receiver Jalen Naylor (8) after defeating Miami in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, September 18, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Editor’s note: Moving forward Thursday in Michigan State’s first preseason exercise, Lansing State Journal is running a series of events giving people in their own words, in their own words, memorable moments from the 2021 campaign. The first installment of the series features coach Mel Tucker looking back on the team’s 38-17 road win against Miami.

Indianapolis — Leading up to last season’s game in Miami, there were questions about Michigan State’s ability to hold on to South Florida’s scorching heat. The Spartans answered the call – and then some. After three quarters of just 17–14, MSU dominated the final period, defeating the hosts 21–3 to win 38–17.

Speaking at the Big Ten Football Media Day event in Indianapolis last week, MSU coach Mel Tucker didn’t downplay the importance of winning.

Below are Tucker’s thoughts on the route.

“It was an event win for us, because it was a strong effort from everyone in our organization. You know how difficult it is to take a show on the road. From an operational standpoint, the strength and conditioning and nutrition really showed up.” We had a really good hydration plan. We worked on that plan in camp, in anticipation of that game. What everyone wanted to do was to be in a position to win that game. We knew it was going to be a foursome. That was the quarter-game and we knew we had to be strong in the fourth quarter. So all of our guys were confident getting on the plane knowing they were conditioned to do it.

“From the time we got there and then throughout the game, there was never any doubt. I never saw any doubt in the minds of my guys that we were looking for a way to win that game. And they were confident because, one of the As organization, we were extremely prepared. So (players) could rely on planning and process. It was the whole organization (that won the game).