Spartan Stadium

Spartan Stadium (formerly College Field, Macklin Field and Macklin Stadium) opened in 1923 in East Lansing, Michigan. It is primarily used for football, and is the home field of the Michigan State University Spartans. After the addition of luxury boxes and club seating in 2004–2005, the capacity of the stadium grew from 72,027 to 75,005—though it has held more than 80,000 fans—making it the Big Ten's sixth largest stadium. Its atmosphere has been described by ESPN's Lee Corso as a "snake pit."

History


In the early 1920s school officials decided to construct a new stadium to replace Old College Field. The resulting stadium was ready in the fall of 1923 with a capacity of 14,000. Over the years the stadium grew. In 1935 the seating capacity increased to 26,000 and the facility was dedicated as Macklin Field. John Macklin, football coach from 1911 to 1915, put Michigan State football on the map with a 29–5 record over five seasons with victories over big name programs such as Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. After admittance into the Big Ten in 1948, Michigan State increased stadium capacity to 51,000 and the field was renamed Macklin Stadium. With Spartan football attracting national attention under Clarence "Biggie" Munn and Hugh "Duffy" Daugherty, 9,000 seats were added in 1956. The following season upper decks were added to the east and west sides boosting the capacity to 76,000. That same season Michigan State dropped the name Macklin Stadium in favor of Spartan Stadium.

In 1969, TartanTurf replaced the natural grass field and a modern scoreboard was added in 1973. Later in the 1970s AstroTurf replaced the TartanTurf. A new modern video scoreboard was added before the 1991 season. Renovations improving sightlines, field security, handicap access and club seats in 1994 reduced Spartan Stadium's capacity to 72,027. New turf was also installed in the summer of 1994. In 1998 Spartan Stadium's sound system was upgraded, adding a 21' x 27' Mitsubishi Diamond Vision videoboard to the south end and a message board to the north end. Home to one of the top turfgrass research programs in the nation, Michigan State installed a natural grass field in 2002. The most recent expansion was completed in August 2005. A new pressbox, 24 luxury suites, and 862 club seats were constructed on the west side of Spartan Stadium. This addition made Spartan Stadium the tallest building in East Lansing.

Special events


For almost 9 years the stadium held the world record for the largest ice hockey crowd in history. On October 6, 2001, a rink was constructed at the center of the stadium for Michigan State's season-opening game against archrival Michigan. Dubbed "The Cold War", 74,554 watched No. 1 nationally ranked Michigan State and No. 4 nationally ranked Michigan skate to a 3–3 tie. Country artist Shannon Brown sang during the second intermission. The game set off a wave of outdoor ice hockey games in large stadiums. The record for the highest-attended outdoor hockey game is now held by the University of Michigan where 104,173 came to Michigan Stadium to watch Michigan beat Michigan State 5-0 in The Big Chill at the Big House.

The Rolling Stones performed at the stadium during their Voodoo Lounge Tour on September 9, 1994.

On June 26, 2011, U2 performed during their U2 360° Tour, with Florence + The Machine as their opening act. The show was originally to be held on June 30, 2010, but was postponed, due to Bono's emergency back surgery. This is first time they've played, in East Lansing, since a bar show in 1981 and in Michigan, since 2005.

Stadium expansion


On September 3, 2005 Spartan Stadium unveiled an 8-story, 268,947-square-foot (24,986.0 m2) expansion which had been under construction since 2003. At a total cost of $64,000,000 USD the project created:

  • 24 luxury suites
  • 800 club seats
  • The "Grand Entrance" featuring high ceilings, glass walls, marble floors and a new home for the original Spartan statue.
  • 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) luxury concourse
  • Office space for the MSU alumni association and Spartan Athletic Office.
  • State of the art recruiting lounge
  • Upgraded stadium wide bathroom and concourse renovations
  • An increase of 3000 seats, bringing the total stadium capacity to 75,005.

The Stadium renovation was done under a joint venture of Clark Construction and Barton Malow Construction Company.

Video: Inside the new expansion

Tailgating


Game days at Spartan Stadium provide opportunity for tailgating. Popular locations include the tennis courts, "the rock", and around the MSU library area on north campus. Open alcohol is permitted on campus during tailgating hours, with the exception of Munn field.

Stadium traditions


  • "Go Green!" "Go White!" – The favorite call and response chant of many Spartans, not just on game days, but whenever they wish to identify one another as true Spartans. On game days this chant can be heard frequently from fans wandering campus. It is also called back and forth rapidly by students at the gate waiting to enter the stadium and later by students in the stands waiting for the game to begin. Sometimes a much slower, ominous sounding, "Go Green! Go White!" chant is called back and forth between the East and West sides of the stadium.
  • The Spartan Marching Band – The Spartan Marching Band is responsible for keeping the energy up in the stadium between plays. They play on the field before and after the game and at halftime. During the game, they sit next to the student section. They usually play the same songs every game during the game and play new songs at halftime. Many of the songs that are played during the game incorporate audience participation.
  • "It's... A beautiful day for football" – As the public address announcer gives the pregame weather report in the stadium, it is always announced to be "a beautiful day for football," no matter how poor the weather is. Usually the crowd proclaims this along with the announcer.
  • "The Spartan Walk" – On the morning of each home game, the team completes a 10-minute walk from their hotel at the posh Kellogg Center, crossing the Red Cedar River, passing the Spartan Statue and finally into the stadium. The sidewalks are lined with fans applauding and cheering "Go Green, Go White."
  • "Thunderstruck" – The team enters the field with AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" as the large television screen plays a special video. This is a new tradition starting in 1999, but does predate the use of "Thunderstruck" by The Longest Yard and other football shows/movies in recent years, although notably the movie Varsity Blues used this song in a football montage in early 1999 as well. Prior to this, the song "Ready to Go" by Republica was used for team introductions.
  • 300 – Introduced in 2007, clips from the movie 300 were added to the "Thunderstruck" introduction sequence. A clip of Spartan King Leonidas shouting, "Spartans! What is your profession?" is played whenever the opponent is in a third down situation. The crowd responds with an emphatic "Haroo! Haroo! Haroo!" while thrusting their fists in the air as if they were carrying spears like in the movie. This is very popular with the football team. On October 16, 2010, 300 star Gerard Butler attended the Spartans' homecoming game. At the beginning of the game Butler walked onto the field repeating the familiar call to fans.
  • 3rd quarter cheer – Performed by the Spartan Marching Band Drumline in the southeast end zone between the third and fourth quarters.
  • "Rowing" – After a touchdown students place their hands on the student shoulder in front of them and rock back and forth producing a "wave like" effect. This tradition has largely subsided in recent years.
  • "Key Play" – When the opponent is on their third down or if they are attempting a fourth down conversion, the students in the student section wave their keys in the air.
  • Zeke the Wonder Dog – Zeke is a Frisbee-catching dog that is part of the half-time show. A fan favorite.
  • "1...2...3... First down!" After every offensive first down, at the onset of the marching band, the student section counts to three, holding up a finger for each number, before clapping and signaling the referee's signal for "first down."

Notable games


  • 1951 – v. Notre Dame – No. 5 ranked Michigan State blanks No. 11 ranked Notre Dame 35–0 before a national audience on NBC. The dominant victory propels Spartan football into the national spotlight.
  • 1953 – v. Michigan – Michigan State defeats Michigan for the first time in Spartan Stadium history 14–6 earning MSU a co-Big Ten championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl.
  • 1966 – v. Notre Dame – "Game of the Century" ending in 10–10 tie. ND was ranked No. 1 and MSU was ranked No. 2 for the entire season previous to the game.
  • 1974 – v. Ohio State – unranked MSU upset undefeated and No. 1 ranked Ohio State, 16–13, ruining the Buckeyes' national title hopes.
  • 1987 – v. Michigan – Spartans defeat Michigan 17–11 for their first victory over the Wolverines in East Lansing since 1969.
  • 1987 – v. Indiana – MSU defeated Indiana 27–3 to win the Big Ten title and earned their first Rose Bowl bid since the 1965 season. Lorenzo White rushed for a then NCAA record tying 56 attempts for 292 yards (267 m).
  • 1995 – v. Michigan – Tony Banks led an 88-yard (80 m) drive and threw the winning touchdown to Nigea Carter with 1:24 left in the game to win 28–25 over No. 7 ranked Michigan.
  • 1998 – v. Notre Dame – before a national ABC primetime audience the Spartans jumped out to a 42–3 halftime lead en route to a 45–23 win.
  • 2000 – v. Notre Dame – Wide receiver Herb Haygood catches a 68 yard touchdown pass on 4th down late in the 4th quarter, lifting the (#20) Spartans past (#18) Notre Dame.
  • 2001 – v. Michigan – Quarterback Jeff Smoker finds T.J. Duckett in the endzone on fourth down on the final play of the game in a 26–24 victory. A timekeeper controversy resulted in the game being named clockgate.
  • 2004 – v. Wisconsin – Michigan State executed 2 fourth down goal line stands, and two 99 yard touchdown drives, to stun the 9–0 (#5) Badgers 49–14, ending their hopes of a National Championship. The victory marked the 300th win at Spartan Stadium.
  • 2006 - v. Notre Dame - Michigan State blows a 16 point fourth quarter lead in heavy rain, leading to Mike Valenti's famous "Choke on Applesauce" on-air radio rant the following Monday.
  • 2007 – v. Penn State – Halfback Jehuu Caulcrick leads Spartans from a 17 point deficit to a 35–31 point victory. MSU scored on 4 of 5 second half possessions, ensuring a trip to their first bowl game since 2003.
  • 2009 – v. Michigan – The Wolverines scored two late touchdowns to force overtime, the second with 2 seconds left in the fourth quarter. After Wolverine quarterback Tate Forcier was intercepted on Michigan's overtime possession, Spartan running back Larry Caper rushed 23 yards for a touchdown to lead Michigan State to 26–20 victory.
  • 2010 – v. Notre Dame – Michigan State wins 34-31 when punter Aaron Bates threw to tight end Charlie Gantt on a fake field goal for the game winning touchdown in overtime. The play was named "Little Giants."
  • 2010 - v. Purdue - Trailing 28-13 after 3 quarters, the Spartans scored 22 points in the 4th quarter to beat the Boilermakers 35-31 and finish the season undefeated at home, with an 11-1 overall record.

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