The Michigan State Spartans will welcome the Toledo Rockets to Spartan Stadium in East Lansing for what will likely be the season opener for the 2026 season. The game is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 5 that year.
The game will mark just the second meeting all-time between the two programs who share a common state* together. The teams one and only meeting came on Nov. 7, 1925. Michigan State won the meeting 58-0.
The schools at the time were then named Toledo University and the Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. Actually, 1925 was the year MSU changed mascots from the “Aggies” to “Sparty.”
Toledo was scheduled to play in East Lansing this past season, but the COVID-19 pandemic obviously canceled that as the Big Ten and Mid-American Conference moved to conference-only schedules. Michigan State was set to pay Toledo $1.2 million for the game in 2020, and the new 2026 matchup is being considered a rescheduled game according to Toledo’s press release.
The Rockets are 6-10 against Big Ten opponents since their first win in 1992 at Purdue, but are just 6-15 all-time against Big Ten teams. The Rockets are scheduled to face three Big Ten teams prior to the 2026 matchup at Michigan State, including Illinois, Maryland, and Ohio State.
As for the Spartans, the Toledo game is currently the only firm opponent on the schedule in 2026. The Big Ten slate has not yet been released, there is no third non-conference game announced for now, and the road trip to face Notre Dame, while under agreement to be played, is still awaiting an official date.
Non-Conference Opponents Scheduled
- Youngstown State, Sept. 11
- at Miami Hurricanes, Sept. 18
- Western Kentucky, Oct. 2
- Western Michigan, Sept. 3
- Akron, Sept. 10
- at Boise State Broncos, Sept. 17
- Central Michigan, Sept. 2
- Richmond, Sept. 9
- Boise State Broncos, Sept. 16
- Florida Atlantic, Aug. 31
- at Boston College Eagles, Sept. 21
- Western Michigan, Aug. 30
- Youngstown State, Sept. 6
- Boston College Eagles, Sept. 20
- Toledo, Sept. 5
- at Notre Dame Fighting Irish, TBD
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish, TBD
- Central Michigan, Sept. 11
- at Washington Huskies, Sept. 9
- Oregon Ducks, Sept. 8
- Central Michigan, Aug. 31
- at Oregon Ducks, Sept. 7
- Washington Huskies, Sept. 6
*While Toledo, Ohio is technically considered part of Ohio, there are some people out there such as this author who still dispute President Jackson’s crooked deal that stripped Michigan of its rightful claim to the Toledo strip. No, we aren’t giving Wisconsin back the western two-thirds of the upper peninsula, either.