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It’s been a while, Spartan fans. But the wait is almost over.

Get to Spartan Stadium early Saturday and give Mel Tucker and the guys a rowdy raucous welcome.

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

It’s been a minute, Michigan State fans, since we’ve wedged ourselves together into Spartan Stadium.

Since we’ve seen the airplanes flying overhead with banners trailing behind.

Since we’ve watched the Spartan Marching Band warm up and march to the field with extreme precision and that one guy who yells uncomfortably loud, but you still kinda like it because it’s impressive in a scary kind of way.

Since we’ve seen the team dressed to the nines, flipping pennies at the Spartan Statue for good luck.

Since we’ve spotted Tom Izzo and his family walking to the game. Since we’ve rolled our eyes at Johnny Spirit. Since we’ve crossed a bridge over the Red Cedar River on our way to Spartan Stadium. Since we’ve looked up to the suites and wondered what they’re actually doing up there anyway.

The wait is almost over. Michigan State football is back in East Lansing.

It’s been so long, in fact, that the last time fans were permitted in Spartan Stadium, Mark Dantonio was still coaching the team. Saturday will mark the first time that Mel Tucker will lead his team on to the field with actual fans in the stands, cheerleaders on the sidelines, Sparty bouncing around and flexing his oversized muscles, the Spartan Marching Band doing their patented entrance and fanfare and Zeke the Wonderdog catching frisbees.

In the stands we’ll see all kinds of reunions — dads and moms with their kids, grandparents with their grandkids, old friends, new friends, and every combination of family, friends and colleagues possible. We’ll get to hear the jerk in the upper deck yelling at the refs. We’ll get to see parents ear-muffing their kids when the student section celebrates every Spartan first down with a naughty chant. We’ll get to complain about the lack of replays on the jumbotron and the long lines for the bathrooms. And we’ll do it all with a big ol’ smile on our faces. Because college football is back.

We can’t wait to see you inside Spartan Stadium on Saturday. Read on, as we’ve got the scoop on some pretty cool stuff being planned for this Saturday’s football game vs Youngstown State. And we have a bunch of reminders for you in case you forgot exactly what is and isn’t allowed on campus on game day. So sit back, relax, and let’s get started.

What to Expect

First off, tailgating is back! Since the game starts around noon, the tailgating lots will open at 7:00 a.m. The sights and the sounds of tailgating in East Lansing will be back and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Keep your eye out for new MSU Athletic Director Alan Haller, as he has promised to walk through the tailgate areas at all home games, interacting with Spartans fans.

The team will do their traditional walk from Kellogg Center to Spartan Stadium, starting at 9:55 a.m. and winding their way past the Spartan Statue on the way into the stadium.

Also, B1G Tailgate is going to set up shop on Munn Field for this game. The live TV show is the “home for Big Ten football fans on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. ET to noon ET with original features, special guests and Big Ten analysis live from campus.” Be sure to stop by to grab some MSU swag, make a sign and maybe get on television.

Since the kickoff is scheduled for 12:01 p.m. and Spartan Stadium gates open an hour-and-a-half prior to kickoff, you can plan on heading in around 10:31 a.m. Those of you in the suites, the Huntington Club or the student section get in an extra 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the fans (10:01 a.m.).

PRO TIP: Arrive early. There will be a line to get in, it will be long, and you don’t want to miss the pregame.


Michigan State has been dropping hints all week that there will be some changes to the pregame routine, including which song will be playing when the football team runs out of the tunnel. AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” – a staple of the Mark Dantonio era – is considered all but dead and buried by most analysts. And by analysts, we mean the collective known as MSU Twitter.

The Only Colors has been informed that Sparty — [PA ANNOUNCER VOICE: the greatest mascot in the world!!] — may no longer run out of the tunnel on his own, but will instead accompany the team on to the field. We will see if that’s true.

We’ve also learned that on this day, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Spartans will be led out of the locker room by first responders. Representatives from the East Lansing Fire Department, the Michigan State University Police Department and a nurse from Sparrow Hospital will lead the team from the locker room to the field.

During the national anthem, a large American flag will be held by the ROTC, and there is a flyover scheduled during the national anthem. The pilot is Spartan graduate Heidi M. Pallister, Lt Col., with the United States Air Force (Deputy Commander, 317 Operations Group, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas).

MSU Athletic Communications

Each member of Michigan State’s team will be wearing 9/11 ribbon stickers on the back of their helmets and there will be an in-game recognition honoring first responders in attendance.

We’ve also learned that the Spartan Ticket Office has distributed more than 1,000 tickets for the season opener through Vet Tix ( and additional tickets for this game were distributed to first responders through MSU corporate partnerships.

The Game

So, bottom line, get there early and soak it all in. It’s going to be a great day to be wearing the Green and White. The weather looks like its going to cooperate (82 degrees, sunny, windy) for a beautiful day for football.

The Spartans are fairly heavy favorites to win so hopefully that part works itself out — but most exciting of all is that fact that all of the traditional parts of game day are back, including the one and only Melting Moments ice cream cookie sandwich on sale again.

The Spartan Marching Band is scheduled to perform a special half-time show themed around remembering Sept. 11, 2001.

As always, The Only Colors team is here with all the information you need to be ready for the game:

  • Get to know Youngstown State here.
  • Here is the 3-2-1 Preview: 3 Things We Want To See, 2 Key Stats and 1 Best Bet.
  • Read about this week’s Michigan State captains here.
  • Listen to this week’s episode of The Only Podcast here.
  • Watch TOC contributor Justin Spiro interview Connor Heyward and Kenneth Walker III in studio here.
  • Keep an eye on the main TOC website for staff picks and more.

We’ll also have one of our writers credentialed in the press box and at the postgame press conference, bringing you behind-the-scenes coverage of the game and the reaction to it.

Now, as promised, are a bunch of reminders — collected straight from MSU’s website — that you might have forgotten about since it’s been so long since we’ve gathered together on the banks of the Red Cedar:

Open Container Ordinance

MSU’s “open container” ordinance bans open containers of alcohol on campus and in all public areas of campus buildings. However, on home football game days, enforcement of the ordinance will be suspended on campus for those of legal drinking age, during the hours parking lots are open for tailgating.

Areas that remain alcohol-free are the pedestrian areas immediately adjacent to Spartan Stadium as well as all public areas of campus buildings. Remember that open containers are not permitted in the city of East Lansing, even during football game days.

Lots of Tailgating and Parking Options

  • Tailgating is permitted in all public parking areas on campus.
  • Because soil compaction endangers the long-term health of campus trees, vehicles cannot be parked on grass surfaces north of the Red Cedar River and are restricted to designated grass areas south of the Red Cedar River.
  • For the last few years, there has been no public parking on Munn Field — tailgating and parking has moved across the street to Cherry Lane Field (on the corner of Harrison Road and Shaw Lane). Entrance to public parking at Cherry Lane can be made at Lot 70 ($30).
  • All other public game-day parking for cars will be available for $20.
  • Shuttle bus service is available from Lot 89 at the corner of Mt. Hope Road and Farm Lane. The shuttle starts two hours prior to kickoff and returns for a reasonable amount of time after the game. The cost is $5 per game for a round trip ticket or $35 for a season pass. Parking is free.
  • Accessible parking is available in Lot 48, Natural Resource Building. Enter from Trowbridge extension off of Red Cedar or Farm Lane. Parking in this area is $20, which includes shuttle transport to the northeast corner of Spartan Stadium. The shuttle starts two hours prior to kickoff and returns for a reasonable amount of time after the game. The shuttle bus returning to accessible parking is accessed from the northeast stadium gates.
  • Recreational vehicle parking is available in lot 97 behind the Engineering Research Building. Cost is $60 per RV. Charter bus parking is $100.

Tailgating Rules (we didn’t make ‘em, nor do we enforce ‘em – but someone will)

  • No couches or upholstered furniture
  • No kegs or other common source containers
  • No drinking game structures and/or paraphernalia
  • No trailers of any type including pig roasters
  • Oversized trucks must park in RV parking
  • Throw away your trash
  • No tents larger than 10’ x 10’
  • No tobacco products can be used on campus at any time

Permitted Items in Spartan Stadium

  • Seat cushions without backs or zippered sections that cannot be used as a bag
  • Binoculars (but leave the case at home)
  • Pagers and cell phones (but leave selfie-sticks at home)
  • Small cameras and radios (but leave cases at home)
  • Blankets and rain apparel (no umbrellas)
  • One factory sealed 20-oz. bottled water per person

Prohibited Items in Spartan Stadium

  • Purses or bags of any size
  • Containers of any kind, including aerosol cans and spray cans
  • Umbrellas, flags, and flagpoles
  • Alcoholic beverages and food of any kind
  • Coolers, thermoses, cups, bottles, cans, flasks. and open bottled water
  • Camcorders and tripods and selfie-sticks
  • Strollers
  • Non-approved chair backs
  • Weapons, projectiles, and other potentially dangerous objects

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

MSU’s COVID-19 safety protocols require that face coverings must be worn by everyone in attendance when in an indoor area of Spartan Stadium, unless actively eating or drinking. The indoor face covering requirement includes the concourse of Spartan Stadium, restrooms, elevators, indoor suite and club areas, and the press box. Face coverings will not be required but are encouraged in the outdoor seating bowl of Spartan Stadium.