Spartan reaction: A sad end to the season for Michigan State fans

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a cross-NCAA fan survey. Throughout the year, we ask questions of the people most connected to electricity Michigan State Fans and fans across the country. Register here to participate.

What difference does a week make. Just days after Michigan fans felt unanimously that the team would reach bowl eligibility with a win over Indiana, they now feel this upcoming game against Penn State is definitely the last game of the year for MSU.

When Michigan State blew a 17-point lead against the Hoosiers, most fans also believed the team left any chance of making a bowl. While there is still a remote technical possibility of reaching the post-season game with just five wins, the season most likely comes down to a win over No. 11 Penn State in Happy Valley. Honestly, fans don’t think it will end well.

According to the latest SB Nation Reacts poll, more than 90 percent of Michigan State fans expect the Spartans to lose on Saturday.

Penn State is a fine team at 9-2, but at this point, that number likely has more to do with a lack of faith in the Spartans than anything with the Nittany Lions. After a season that saw every big game turn into an embarrassment, MSU somehow found a way to keep the season alive heading into Day 1 against Indiana — a team that was sitting squarely at the bottom of the Big Ten East after losing seven games in a row.

For most of the match, things seemed to go as expected. While it never looked pretty, Michigan State managed to build a three-point lead before halftime and held the distance after scoring to start the third quarter. This is when things fell apart.

In the 22-minute stretch of play, Indiana led 17-0. The Hoosiers then ended things in a second overtime period when the Spartans failed to match a Hoosiers touchdown.

The collapse was total. Michigan State has been bested on offense, defense, and special teams while also being bested on coaching. Because of those IU failures in particular, it ranks as the worst loss of the season, according to MSU fans.

A loss like this stays in the program. It’s not a game to be forgotten after the next game, or to feel like a distant memory when the team takes the field back next fall. While the roster may look different next year, it’s not guaranteed that one important group will ever change—the coaching staff.

Just a year after managing East Lansing like no boss since Tom Izzo, Mel Tucker looks less polished. Tucker’s team and coaching staff have seen a list of embarrassments this season, but the Indiana game is probably the most straightforward (at least for on-field action).

Michigan State fans will not ignore Indiana’s loss. More than three-quarters of the fans responding said the crash against the Hoosiers was an indictment of Tucker and his coaching staff.

While fans anticipate the football season to end after Saturday’s game, the opportunity to express opinions will continue. Stay tuned for next week’s Reacts poll and vote to be heard.

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