Overheard at Mel Tucker’s press conference: Unforgiving business and no riverboat gambler – MLive.com

EAST LANSING – After four straight losses, Michigan State has now won two of its last three games.

The Spartans (4-5, 2-4 Big Ten) are coming off a 23-15 upset win at No. 14 Illinois for their biggest victory of the season and host Rutgers (4-5, 1-5) on Saturday (noon, BTN) in East Lansing.

Here are notable quotes from coach Mel Tucker’s press conference on Monday:

“I’m very proud of the way our team played Saturday at Illinois. We played complementary football for 60 minutes, four quarters in the game and we got the job done versus a very good opponent. Everyone in the organization, from the players, the coaches and the support staff, had intentional focus last week and I expect the same this week in our preparation for Rutgers.”

– Tucker on the win against the Fighting Illini.

“We hit the ground running this morning. We had very good meetings, reviewed the game, made the corrections. We were able to learn some things from the game and why we were able to be successful in the game.”

– Tucker on learning from the win and preparing for Rutgers.

“We talked about that this morning, that we cannot get seduced by success. We have to learn from the game – good, bad – evaluate it, own it and then shift to neutral and then move on to what’s next, which is focusing on the preparation for this game.”

– Tucker on responding to win at Illinois.

Michigan State moves forward after upset win at Illinois with no talk of bowl hopes

“Our future’s bright. We’re playing a lot of young players out of necessity and some of our younger players have actually beat some guys out as well. I believe our best football is ahead of us and I told the team this morning it’s not last year’s team that’s really laying the foundation for this program, it’s this year’s team that’s really laying the foundation for where we’re going to be moving forward.”

– Tucker on the Spartans using younger players due to injuries and eight defensive players being suspend indefinitely due to their roles in postgame incidents following an Oct. 29 loss at Michigan.

“We don’t have any new information and we’re taking it one day at a time. We have the guys that we have today and if something changes we’ll adapt and adjust.”

– Tucker on the players suspended as the University of Michigan Police Department leads an investigation with the potential for criminal charges.

“He can’t jump in if he hasn’t been in the meetings and he hasn’t been even at practice.”

– Tucker on the preparation required to play in a game. The eight suspended players have been banned from all organized team activities.

Shorthanded Michigan State defense keys upset win at Illinois

“We told the guys there’s still a lot of football left to play. I reiterated with the staff this morning that we don’t need to talk about winning out and bowl eligibility and things like that. We need to focus on what it takes to prepare to be in a position to win games.”

– Tucker on the Spartans needing two wins in the last three games of the regular season to become bowl eligible.

“We need more consistency, certainly. That’s something that we’re working towards every single day.”

– Tucker on Michigan State’s placekicking after Ben Patton missed an extra point at Illinois and was 1-for-2 on field goals, including a miss from 31 yards out with 1:06 left in the game. The Spartans are just 2-for-6 on field goals this season.

“Nobody cares. Nobody’s going to say well, they had this many guys out or they had six starters out. Nobody cares about that. … This is a very unforgiving game and a very unforgiving business.”

– Tucker on Michigan State dealing with key injuries this season.

“It’s not like a riverboat gambler gut type deal. We’re going based upon a lot of score probabilities and win probabilities.”

– Tucker on decisions made whether to kick an extra point or go for a 2-point conversion.

Related Michigan State football stories:

Michigan State LB Cal Haladay named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week

Michigan State’s Bryce Baringer shines in return to Illinois amid difficult conditions

Takeaways, observations from Michigan State’s upset win at Illinois

Mel Tucker, Payton Thorne explain empty possession late in win at Illinois

Illinois coach Bret Bielema insinuates Michigan State players faked injuries