Michigan State should get a lot of credit for scheduling Boise State, a well known giant killer, in the opening game of the year. The Broncos are without much of the talent that took them to such great heights over the past few years, but are known to still never be taken lightly. A packed Spartan Stadium filled with green and white except for a couple bright orange corners that vibrantly represented the visitors from Idaho.
Many of the Michigan State fans entering the stadium commented in awe about the new scoreboard that towered over the south end zone. “That scoreboard is ridiculous!” mentioned a loud and proud MSU follower seated next to me. Additional LED replay boards and ribbon boards were added on the north end, which flickered light in such a way that almost resembled lightning during this night game. The 10 million dollar project appeared worth the cost as the boards illuminated the action and enhanced the already phenomenal gameday experience at MSU.
As the Spartan Marching band concluded it’s pregame set, members from all major university sports formed a tunnel (including basketball’s Tom Izzo and crew) to welcome the football team. After two years of near Rose Bowl misses, this year’s fan base is anticipating a more promising finish to the season. The deafening hollers as the Spartans came out of the tunnel suggested readiness for greatness. The PA announcer followed with a report that it was “84 degrees and a…” (to which the crowd responded in unison) “…BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR FOOTBALL!” It was a hot night particularly squashed into a stadium eagerly awaiting this highly anticipated matchup.
The Spartans got off to a hot start relying on Le’Veon Bell to grind on the defense for an early TD. Boise State has made a living by knocking off highly ranked Oregon, Virginia Tech, and Georgia in 2009, 2010, and 2011 respectively. It looked like MSU would be the fourth victim when in the second quarter, the Broncos returned an interception for a crowd hushing TD. In fact, after carrying a three point lead into the fourth, they looked to be poised for another opening weekend upset. Then, Michigan State answered the bell. Le’Veon Bell scored a late go ahead TD, and Boise ran out of gas as the Spartan D put a period on this contest. A collective “WHEW!” blew out of the stadium. Once everyone caught their breath, “GO GREEN! GO WHITE!” reverberated through the hot August night. Without Kirk Cousins, their QB star from year’s past, the Spartans know they have some work ahead. But, in the meantime, they know for whom the “bell” tolls. And if the high price-tag of those scoreboards were ever a question, they just got a lot prettier with a 17-13 final beaming down on the smiling fans.