If it can come anywhere close to matching what has happened more often than not in recent memory, then Friday’s season-opener against Boise State should be a heck of a game.
There’s something about night games at Spartan Stadium that virtually guarantees an exciting game, with the exception of last season’s opener against Youngstown State.
“Playing a night game here is special,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. ”It’s a very live atmosphere. The students are back on campus … there’s a little bit of that whole thing. So I’m sure it will be a very excited atmosphere … night game, national TV game against a great opponent brings out something extra. … All these things just create sort of a rush for you. It’s going to be very exciting for our football team to come out.”
Friday’s game marks just the 12th night game in the 89-year history of Spartan Stadium. The Spartans are 7-4 in their 11 previous prime-time appearances in Spartan Stadium, including a perfect 2-0 record last season. Three of those seven wins came over ranked opponents (No. 19 USC in 1987, No. 10 Notre Dame in 1998 and No. 4 Wisconsin in 2011).
Two of the most memorable night games at Spartan Stadium have come in the previous two seasons. Last year, Michigan State beat Wisconsin with “The Rocket,” a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the game. In 2010, it was “Little Giants,” a fake field goal in overtime against Notre Dame.
What will it be this time? Will it have the same excitement? Will it result in elation or will it be the deflating feeling the Spartans had when they lost on the final play to Iowa in 2009?
However it plays out, Friday’s game will have to be pretty-darned good to match what has happened often in the past.
But with two top-25 teams, the possibility of another classic seems plausible.