Payton Thorne stresses significance of Spartans winning the Peach Bowl

Posted at 8:31 PM, Dec 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-28 23:04:59-05

Peach Bowl preparations continue for the Michigan State Spartans. The team began the morning with a lifting session on the campus of Georgia Tech before arriving back at the hotel for meetings. Prior to practice, the Spartans took a team photo inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, then held a brief one-hour walk through.

Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson addressed media about the upcoming matchup against No. 12 Pittsburgh, saying he has been pleased with his team and how they're getting ready.

“I like where we're at offensively,” said Johnson. “We've done some good things. And it's been good here even in the interim after the final game against Penn State. We've had a chance to go back to the basics. And what the program is built upon, and Mel talks about this all the time, is really fundamentals and techniques. It was good to kind of reset, so to speak, reset here after the Penn State game and get a lot of good work in there. Now obviously our focus has changed to more of the game prep. But the start of the bowl deal, that was it. And that's one of the benefits of playing in a bowl game. I think our offense has used that to our advantage, and I think we're in a good spot.”

Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne addressed the media as well and stressed the signficance of winning in the postseason and that a Peach Bowl win would mean a lot to the program.

"Looking to close the year out the right way and send our seniors out the right way as well," said Thorne. "And then also gain momentum moving into next year. I think that we have shown a lot of progress from last year to this year and really from the last few years, honestly, offensively. And we're looking to build on that this week on Thursday, and finish the year out the right way and then we'll be able to take a look at the season in full in the weeks coming and look at areas we can improve for next year and what kind of players we've got coming back for next year."

The Spartans will add back a piece of their offense that they had been missing. Jalen Nailor will be back in the lineup after missing the last month of the season with a hand injury. Jayden Reed talked about the added threat that Nailor brings tot he offense heading into the Peach Bowl.

"With Speedy being back, you've got to pick your poison," said Reed. "We've got our guy back, and we haven't had him for a while, so teams haven't really scouted him as much as they could lately. So that will be a huge contribution to come back with Speedy. No doubt it's going to be tough trying to manage two of the fastest receivers in the nation, in my opinion. It will be a good one."

Michigan State will conduct one final practice on Wednesday afternoon inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium before Thursday night’s game against Pitt at 7 p.m.