The Michigan State Spartans handled business in the season opener on the road at Northwestern last Friday. Now comes the home opener in non-conference action at Spartan Stadium against the Youngstown State Penguins. The FCS program visits the Spartans for the first time since 2013, and it’s just the third all-time meeting between the schools.
More importantly, the game will be the first one that allows fans in the stands in 651 days. As a result of Big Ten COVID-19 policies, fans were not allowed to attend games last season, meaning the last home game fans could attend was against Maryland on Nov. 30, 2020, what would become then head coach Mark Dantonio’s final home game as head coach as well.
There are a number of other changes fans will find in Spartan Stadium this visit besides an indoor mask policy, a different head coach, a return of Melting Moments ice cream sandwiches, arguably controversial musical selections and changes to Sparty’s entrance, but also reduced capacity after field level club seating was expanded.
I finally have the answer as to what the new stadium capacity is as a result of the new seat installations. It has shrunk by 129 total seats, dropping from 75,005 to 74,866. https://t.co/oIy9swWJFQ— Kevin Knight (@SpartyOnHuskers) September 10, 2021
All-time, Saturday’s matchup marks just the third meeting between the programs, all coming within the last decade. It will also mark just the seventh game all-time against an FCS opponent by Michigan State. The Spartans are 6-0 in those games previously, with an average margin score of 41-9.
As for Youngstown State, the Spartans own a 2-0 record against the Penguins. YSU was the season opener for MSU in 2011, in the first game between the two programs, a 28-6 MSU win. Then in 2013, the Penguins were the third game of the season for the Spartans prior to a fateful road trip to face Notre Dame, and ended with a Michigan State whooping of 55-17.
A win for MSU on Saturday will mark a start to a new win streak in home season openers. Last season, a seven-turnover debacle against Rutgers in 2020 spoiled a 21-game home opener win streak for the Spartans. A win would at least represent a 24th victory in the past 26 seasons, however. Michigan State is 102-22 all-time in home openers.
Youngstown State (1-0) at Michigan State Spartans (1-0)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 11
Kickoff: 12:01 p.m. EST
TV: Big Ten Network
Web/Mobile: FOX Sports/FOX Sports Mobile App
Play-by-Play: Lisa Byington
Analyst: Anthony Herron
Sideline: Coley Harvey
RADIO: Spartan Media Network
Play-by-Play: George Blaha
Analyst: Jason Strayhorn
Sideline: Steve Courtney
Broadcast Host: Will Tieman
Website/Mobile: msuspartans.com/MSU Spartans app/Tune In radio
Flagship Stations: Lansing: WMMQ (94.9 FM)/WJIM (1240 AM); Detroit: WJR (760 AM); Grand Rapids: WBFX (101.3 FM)
Affiliates: 30 affiliates listed at msuspartans.com
Satellite: Ch. 83 (Sirius), Ch. 83 (XM), Ch. 83 (SiriusXM.com)
Pre-game Show: Begins at 10:30 a.m
Location: East Lansing, Michigan
Stadium: Spartan Stadium (74,866, down 139 seats from previous capacity)
Surface: Natural grass
All-Time Series: MSU leads, 2-0
Series in East Lansing: MSU leads, 2-0
Last Meeting: MSU 55, YSU 17 (2013)
Current Series Streak: two by MSU (2011-)
End of an Era
I have no qualms with dropping Thunderstruck as the song for the team’s official taking of the field. I mean, I know so little of AC/DC’s history that I was stunned to know it was released in 1990, thinking it was more like a late ‘70s or early ‘80s song. However, I grew up with the song being the official entry tune, so I am officially pouring one out to the end of an era this morning. Here’s to the sadness of never seeing virtual Sparty smite down the opponent’s mascot logo on the big screen to the tune of “You’ve been THUNDERSTRUCK” ever again. And now here’s another one to celebrate the start of a fun new tradition…that will hopefully be a better entry song choice than “Swag Surfin’” because not just recruits matter for a moment based around getting 74,866 fans amped up for a game.