Mel Tucker had some solid praise for his quarterback heading into Week 1 of the season. The Michigan State head coach is in lockstep with redshirt junior Payton Thorne.

During his Monday press conference, Tucker said he has trust in Thorne, and so does the coaching staff.

Thorne is a veteran of Michigan State’s system. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound QB has been with the program for four years while throwing for 30 touchdowns for 3,815 yards across 14 starts.

Thorne has produced an 11-3 record as a starter over that time.

The Spartans went 11-2 (7-1 B1G) in 2021 and won the Peach Bowl over Pittsburgh with Thorne at quarterback. Thorne set Michigan State’s single-season record for most passing touchdowns with 27, passing Kirk Cousins’s mark of 25 set in 2011.

Tucker might be leaning on Thorne early on. The Spartans lost Kenneth Walker III to the NFL after 2021.

The Doak Walker Award winner rushed for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns on 263 attempts last season. Leading receiver Jayden Reed does return after catching 59 balls for 1,026 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2021.

The Spartans open up as heavy favorites against Western Michigan on Friday night.