Some have ended in amazing wins, some have ended in agonizing heartbreak, but what’s always assured is that night games in Spartan Stadium are always special.
Saturday’s game could end up being one of the most important of the eight games played under the lights in the storied stadium’s history. Sixth-ranked Iowa comes to East Lansing to take on the upset-minded Spartans in what is assuredly the biggest game of 2009 thus far.
The administration at Michigan State have always been reluctant to schedule games so late in the day, most likely due to us students and our penchant for epic tailgating. A game against Notre Dame a few years back resulted in many people being taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning when they started drinking at 6 a.m. for an 8 p.m. game.
Anyone who follows that same path on Saturday is going to miss what could be one of the most intense experiences college football has to offer.
The unique experience of a night game starts a few days before the game itself, when the lights are put up on Spartan Stadium. It gives a certain sense of expectation and adrenaline rush to see those floodlights going up. You can almost see 75,000 screaming Spartan fans making life a living hell for Ricky Stanzi and the Hawkeye offense when you’re walking past the stadium.
As time gets nearer, the wait just gets more difficult.
The confidence among students on campus right now is staggering. Iowa hasn’t faced a team like us, they haven’t come into a road game like this, we’re on too much of a hot streak, and dammit, we’re due for a program win. No one has even floated the possibility of a loss.
Maybe that’s ignorance; maybe it’s a product of our team’s toughness rubbing off on the fans. One thing that’s for sure is that the thing that’s making us believe—be it toughness, hope, resiliency, whatever it is—is going to make for an epic night on Saturday.
No one will leave Spartan Stadium with their voices intact. From the moment the gates open until the opening kick off, the buzz around the field will be palpable. And when the sun finally sets and that first kick flies into the cold, crisp air, the adrenaline that’s been building up for a week is going to release 75,000 times over.
Lots of times this fan base is divided. Some are apathetic about their teams, some take Spartan football as seriously as they take their children’s lives. But for just one night students and alumni, young and old, and everyone in between need to unite for our Spartans. We can’t go out and win the game for them, but we can sure make Spartan Stadium the hardest place to play in the country.
This town is alive right now, and the big-game feeling is palpable in the air. Iowa is a good team, but on Saturdays under the lights anything can happen.