If it wasn't clear that Michigan State's football season was done, the program announced on Sunday morning that it would not be participating in a bowl game.
In mid-October, the NCAA Division I Council voted to waive game requirements and the .500 record baseline requirement for teams to qualify for a postseason bowl game.
"We have decided as a program that the best decision for our team is to prepare for the 2021 season," Head Coach Mel Tucker said in a release. "I’m proud of the players for the way they handled themselves during this difficult and challenging year. They endured a season unlike any we have had before and worked hard to remain diligent in following all of our safety protocols. Our players have been on campus since re-arriving in June and deserve the chance to go home and take some time away from football."
Michigan State finished the football season with a 2-5 overall record, both wins coming against AP-ranked opponents at the time.
The two wins were a 27-24 victory over the Wolverines in Ann Arbor and a 29-20 upset of then-unbeaten Northwestern in East Lansing. The Spartans were slated to face Maryland in the Big Ten Champions Weekend, but the matchup was canceled for a second time this season due to positive COVID-19 test results within the Terrapins football program.
"Even though our season has come to a close, the time that we have had to work with the players in practice and coach in games has been invaluable for us in establishing our culture," Tucker said. "We’re looking forward to relentlessly working this offseason in preparation for the 2021 season. The future is bright for Michigan State football. Go Green!"
The Spartans' season came to a close with a 39-24 loss to Penn State in Happy Valley, where redshirt freshman quarterback Payton Thorne threw for three touchdowns in the loss.
Tucker and the football program have already begun to build toward future seasons, by both taking advantage of the recruiting and transfer portal game already this offseason. MSU signed 18 new recruits during the early signing period this past week and got two transfers: Auburn running back Harold Joiner III and Temple quarterback Anthony Russo, who played in 31 games for the Owls while throwing for 6,000+ yards.
“I’d like to thank Coach Mel Tucker, his staff, and most importantly our student-athletes for competing hard throughout the year," MSU Athletic Director Bill Beekman said in the release. "In a season unlike any other, with more than its fair share of adversity, our team maintained its focus and fought each day to get better, while having the opportunity to coach and play the game they love. Our sports medicine team did an outstanding job taking care of our student-athletes and staff, whom should also be commended for their adherence to strict medical protocols and procedures. Their diligence gave us an opportunity to play each and every week."
“There are many positives to take away from this year and build on for the future, and I know Coach Tucker and his team are already looking forward to an offseason of improvement and preparation for 2021," Beekman said. "There’s an exciting future ahead for Spartan football.”
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