We’re inside an hour from kickoff at Spartan Stadium between MSU and Nebraska. Already, there are a number of fans here wearing Huskers red – one of the Spartans’ two biggest fears.
Spartans coach Mark Dantonio on Thursday issued a brief statement online, via MSU’s official Facebook page, in anticipation of a Nebraska invasion of East Lansing. Here it is in full:
Dear Spartan Faithful,
Saturday at 3:30 p.m., Nebraska visits Spartan Stadium for the first time as a Big Ten member. Your football team NEEDS you in your seat with your “game face on” to be a difference-maker
in this important game. Remember to always display good sportsmanship.
Life is not easy. Football and sports in general are not easy. Many times the game is won or lost by the smallest of margins and usually at the end. Football is a game of inches and emotions. STAY STRONG!
We look forward to spending this Saturday with you and your Spartan brothers and sisters. This is Michigan State! See you in your GREEN & WHITE!
Part of this stems from the poor fan turnout – students and alums alike – against Iowa three weeks ago, when Spartan Stadium’s stands remained only about 2/3 full on a cold, rainy afternoon. MSU went on to lose that game in overtime, 19-16.
The second part is how well the Cornhuskers’ loyalists travel to support their team, which is like an NFL franchise in the state of Nebraska. They dispatched an estimated 25,000 to Northwestern two weeks ago. There also was plenty of red here in 1995, the last time Nebraska visited East Lansing.
Plus with a number of cheap tickets popping up this week on online resale sites, some as low as $5, the stands could end up looking more like Santa Claus than a Christmas tree. Between the potential for an enemy invasion and a number of empty seats due to Spartan fans’ apathy after a slow start, it might make for a perfect storm that could leave MSU’s top administration agitated and ashamed.
One injury note: MSU backup free safety R.J. Williamson is not dressed for today’s game. Backup free safety Jairus Jones is listed on the Spartans’ dress list and is warming up with the team.