One of the most surprising first half performances of the 2021 college football season has come from Michigan State. The Spartans have stormed off to a 7-0 start and will now host an undefeated, rivalry match-up this weekend against the Michigan Wolverines.
A major reason for the program’s rapid turnaround is second-year head coach Mel Tucker.
After taking over just last season, Tucker has done a spectacular job at improving Michigan State on both sides of the ball. The former Colorado head coach turned the Spartans from a last-place team in the Big Ten East in 2020 to a legitimate division competitor in 2021.
Among those that’s taken note of Tucker’s strong showing in East Lansing is Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. According to Zach Shaw of 247Sports, Harbaugh had nothing but good things to say about Tucker on Monday and reiterated that he’s doing “a tremendous job” at Michigan State.
Jim Harbaugh says Mel Tucker was neighbors with brother-in-law Tom Crean and sister Joanie in Georgia. Says Tucker is doing “a tremendous job” at MSU and has nothing but good things to say.
— Zach Shaw (@_ZachShaw) October 25, 2021
Tucker went 2-5 in his first year as the Michigan State head coach, but the Spartans showed signs of being a much better football team. After working the transfer portal this summer, Tucker seems to have created a well-oiled machine, resulting in an explosive start to the campaign.
The Spartans offense has been their strength so far this year, ranking 26th in the nation in total yards per game (451.7) and eighth in yards per play (6.96). The defense hasn’t been as dominant as some of the Michigan State teams of old, but has only given up 21+ points in two of its seven games this season.
Tucker will have his work cut out for him this weekend against the No. 6 Wolverines. Harbaugh seems to have this Michigan team firing on all cylinders, so Michigan State will need to play its best football to stay undefeated.
The Big Ten rivalry game will kickoff this Saturday at noon E.T. from East Lansing.