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Spartans set to “Storm the Desert”

MSU travels to Arizona State this September and the local Spartan group is ready for the green invasion.

Michigan State travels to PAC-12 territory for their lone non-conference road game this season. The Spartans will play Arizona State in Tempe in the first half of a home-and-home between the two teams. The Sun Devils will return the favor with a trip to East Lansing next season. It will be MSU’s first trip to Arizona State since September of 1986, a 20-17 loss to the hosts.

The road trip to Arizona has brought about an opportunity for Spartans both local to the Phoenix area, and from elsewhere around the country, to see MSU play in a unique setting. And many Spartans (myself included) are making the trek to the southwest to check out the game.

As a result of the heavy interest in the game, the Arizona Spartans group has been busy working hard to welcome MSU fans from all around to their neck of the woods for the game. I spoke with Kevin Vaughn, the Vice President of the Arizona Spartans about the game and what his group has organized for that week. According to Vaugn the theme of the week is “Spartans Storm the Desert.” And any Spartans that plan on storming will have plenty to do.

Tickets: The Arizona Spartans group had two different sets of group tickets they made available that were purchased through ASU. They did not last long.

“We sold our first allotment of tickets in 8 minutes! According to ASU, we have sold approximately 10,000 tickets so far that they know of,” said Vaughn.

For those of you who still may be interested in tickets, it looks like the secondary market is the way to go. StubHub has tickets starting in the mid-80 dollar price range currently available. The demand for visiting fans has been high.

“We expect around 10,000-20,000 Spartans at the game,” predicts Vaughn.

Attire: For those of you planning on attending the game, the Arizona Spartans want to make sure you are properly dressed. The group has planned the rare road white-out for the game.

“(We) noticed ASU was having their annual black-out game so we figured our green shirts would blend in too much. We like to make our presence known like at the Rose Bowl. So, we decided to create a road game white-out. We knew there would be a ton of Spartans ‘Storming the Desert’ so we thought it would be fun to create this event,” said Vaughn.

And if you don’t have any white MSU gear fit for the warm desert climate, fear not, for the Arizona Spartans have you covered with their official “Spartans Storm the Desert” white-out t-shirt, available here:

Pre-Gameday Activites:

If you are coming in for more than just the day of the game, the Arizona Spartans have organized a couple of fun events at their local headquarters, Wasted Grain in Scottsdale.

Thursday night there is a “Welcome Night” scheduled to start at 6 p.m. which will include a live band. This is a free event, and the group will have the white-out shirts available for purchase.

Friday things kick into high gear. Wasted Grain will open its doors at noon, with a performance by East Lansing native Jerry Sprague set for 3-5:45 p.m. Then at 6:00 there will be an MSU pep rally outside Wasted Grain with the Spartan Alumni Band, and an appearance by new Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman. The group will be handing out free cheer stix to the first 500 fans.

Then at 8:00 back inside Wasted Grain, will be a concert by The Verve Pipe. Tickets for that start at $40 and are available here:

Game Day: Now for the day of the game, the Arizona Spartans have set up a pretty extravagant tailgate party. The tailgate event starts at noon at the ASU Karsten Golf Course, about a 15 minute walk to Sun Devil Stadium.

View from Karsten Golf Course, site of the MSU tailgate.

Fans attending will start off with a “green carpet” photo op with photography being handled by Tony Mandarich Studios. A cooled tent will help fans beat the desert heat. Once inside fans will be treated to LED screens to watch the day’s games, a food truck food court to purchase meals, a full cash bar, DJ’s throughout the day, and a charity casino.

In addition to that, there will be euchre and baggo (cornhole) tournaments with prizes and trophies awarded to the final four teams in each.

There will also be a kid’s tent featuring magic shows, video games, face painting, and bounce houses.

Safety is high on the priority list with EMT’s and security guards on site. Fans will also be provided complimentary non-alcoholic beverages throughout the day to keep them hydrated.

There is also a VIP option featuring entry into a poker tournament with the grand prize being an entry into the World Series of Poker Millionaire Maker tournament.

Finally, there are a limited number of parking spots near the tailgate site available for purchase as well.

Here is the link to information and to purchase tickets for the tailgate:

The weather is expected to be warm so Kevin has one word for everyone to remember: HYDRATE.

“It could be 100+ degrees each day so be sure and drink plenty of water all day long,” says Vaughn.

If you are planning on going, or just interested in attending, Vaughn invites you to join the group’s Facebook page (AZSpartans) to stay up to date on the latest news and information for the week.

For those attending this is shaping up to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Spartans play in a different environment, as well as a chance to mix and mingle with some fellow Spartans from all around. And it will certainly be cool to see how much white Spartan Nation can fit into the middle of the ASU black-out.