More than three-touchdown underdogs.
Facing history some 25 years old.
Didn't matter Saturday for Mel Tucker and Michigan State.
Never trailing and leading the final 39 minutes, 40 seconds, the Spartans toppled host and 13th-ranked Michigan, 27-24, in Ann Arbor.
The Spartans, though slightly outgained in the contest, captured victory with a rugged toughness emblematic of their first-year head coach, Mel Tucker. And Tucker joined the legendary Nick Saban as the only MSU coaches in program history to win in their first visits to Michigan.
“The name of the game is hit and always has been,” Tucker said on his postgame radio show. “You have to play physical. One thing I was proud of was obviously, we wanted to run the ball. We didn't go away from the run. We stayed with the run and were able to stay somewhat balanced. Keep hammering the run in there. That's important. That's physical football.”
Still, the Spartans needed one final first down in the game's final half-minute to secure an early signature win for Tucker, who lost 38-27 last week in his MSU debut against Rutgers when the Spartans committed seven turnovers.
“It's a yard and a half,” Sparty quarterback Rocky Lombardi said. “If you can't get a yard and a half, good luck.”