Michigan State QB’s situation still uncertain but Rocky Lombardi ‘better’ after injury
Michigan State opened the season with uncertainty at quarterback.
That remains the case with the calendar coming to an end and the Spartans (2-4) due to play at Penn State (2-5) on Saturday.
Rocky Lombardi Entrance was injured in last week’s 52-12 loss to Ohio State and did not return. The junior redshirt appeared to hit his head to the ground as he was sacked with less than five minutes to go in the second quarter, looked dazed and was whisked into the locker room as rookie Payton Thorne took on the relay to the quarterback the rest of the game.
“(Lombardi) seemed to be doing better yesterday,” Michigan State coach Mel Tucker said Tuesday afternoon. “We are evaluating everything, we are going to go through today and I predict that by the end of the day tomorrow we will know who we are going to go with and then we will. But we’re still in the evaluation process right now.
Lombardi won the job this fall and started all six games with mixed results. The junior redshirt threw for 642 yards and six combined touchdowns in the first two games, struggled the next two with five interceptions and zero touchdowns while being substituted in both by Thorne, then rebounded to help the team win a surprise 29-20 win over Northwestern on Nov. 28. However, Lombardi had another bad outing against Ohio State and had a 5-for-11 pass for 33 yards and an interception before being pulled out.
This allowed Thorne to get an extended gaze for only the second time and it gave the offense a spark, although it did come with Ohio State already leading 28-0. He completed his first 11 passes and finished 16 for 25 for 147 yards and an interception and had nine carries for 42 yards and a touchdown, to go with a fumble.
“I think every player has their own skills and it’s up to the coaches who they think have the best skills to adapt to our attack,” Thorne said of the quarterfinals competition after the loss to England. Ohio State. “I’m going to keep showing up and doing what I do and playing the way I play and I’m going to keep competing. That’s all I know how to do and that’s all I can do to move forward and I’ll continue to challenge my teammates to do the same.
Tucker was asked on Tuesday what he looks for in a quarterback and listed many traits. It included leadership, mental toughness, accuracy, winning outside of the numbers, reading a defense and checking on the line of scrimmage, as well as balance and patience. But there is one quality that stands out above the rest.
“Your quarterback has to be your team’s No.1 contender, period,” Tucker said. “It’s what it should be. … When you talk about quarterbacks, what type of competitor is he and will he outperform everyone on the team? Will he make that effort to be the No.1 competitor? “
Michigan State Football Stories: