MSU's Tucker ahead of OSU on Gameday: 'We're built for this'

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Columbus, Ohio — There was no talk of contracts Saturday morning.

Michigan State coach Mel Tucker’s focus was solely on the No. 7 Spartans’ noon showdown with No. 4 Ohio State at Ohio Stadium.

MSU head coach Mel Tucker arrives to Ohio Stadium for the game against the Buckeyes in Columbus.

MSU is expected to offer Tucker a 10-year, $95 million contract extension soon. 

In a game Michigan State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) enters as a nearly 20-point underdog with the Big Ten East potentially on the line, Tucker said his team is ready for the moment.

“It makes sense to them,” Tucker told ESPN’s Holly Rowe. “They believe. They know that we put the work, they know that we're built for this, we train for this. This is a moment that we're prepared for.”

Michigan State’s defense will be put to the test as Ohio State (9-1, 7-0) has the No. 1 offense in the nation and will put plenty of stress on the Spartans’ defense, which is last in the nation against the pass.

Still, Tucker believes there is a formula for Michigan State to win, something the Spartans did six years ago when they came to Columbus as a 14-point underdog but came away with a last-second win, eventually winning the Big Ten championship and reaching the College Football Playoff.

“We have to make them work for everything,” Tucker said. “We have to eliminate the explosives, we have to have rush and coverage working together, play together as a team. We've got to play complementary football. You can’t score if the offense isn’t on the field.”

Getting another big game from running back and Heisman Trophy hopeful Kenneth Walker III, one like he had against Michigan when he ran for 197 yards and five touchdowns, would go a long way to an upset.

“He’s just got to be who he is,” Tucker said. “He’s a great player, a team guy. He’s gonna take what the defense gives him, and he's gonna get a little bit more.”

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau