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Rivalry Week is officially here, and the undefeated Spartans are trying to 'eliminate the drama'

MSU Head Football Coach Mel Tucker, rivalry week 2021
Posted at 9:56 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 16:06:29-04

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Rivalry Week is officially here. The undefeated MSU football team will take on the undefeated Wolverines on Saturday at Spartan Stadium.

MSU Head Football Coach Mel Tucker said Monday that he and his team are ready.

"We understand this is not just another game," Tucker said. "Every single day since the day I been here, Feb. 12, 2020, there hasn't been a day that's gone by that someone hasn't mentioned to me something about this game."

"We know the tradition of this game, and I think I saw that it's the first time since maybe 2010 that we've both been undefeated while we're playing, so we're excited," MSU football senior safety Xavier Henderson said.

Last week was a bye week for the Spartans, and Tucker said the team used the time wisely.

"We start the bye week with a lot of corrections, especially on the defensive side, that's what we do," Henderson said.

"We practiced on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. We were also able to get some recruiting in, some rest and recovery, and scheme evaluation, offense, defense and special teams," Tucker said.

The Spartans are focusing on technique, fundamentals and blocking out the outside noise.

"We talked about trying to take the hype out of the game, really during this week of practice, and that's just by executing our fundamentals," Henderson said.

"What prevails is execution," Tucker said. "Our focus and our point of emphasis this morning and it's going to be throughout the week, is eliminate the drama."

Tucker said it's all about playing clean football.

"We're not introducing any new concepts in preparation this week. These are not new concepts, it's just what we do. It’s just about doing what we do better," Tucker said. "That’s why they call us coaches, that’s our job."

Unlike last year, there will be fans in the stands.

"That's what we're excited for," Henderson said. "The fans, the atmosphere. The last time we played Michigan at home it was probably the loudest I've heard Spartan Stadium."

"It's going to be an electric atmosphere, it's going to be a capacity crowd," Tucker said. "I told the players this morning, and I've told them this before, when you have rivalry games like this, at the end of the day, ultimately, your legacy and your reputation...a lot of it is formed by how you play and how you coach in these games."

Pregame coverage for the big game begins Saturday at 10 a.m. Kickoff is at noon on FOX 47.

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