Tomorrow's match up between Michigan State and the Indiana Hoosiers isn't just another Big Ten battle between two teams, but rather, it marks a more monumental occasion.
Saturday's homecoming will mark the 500th game played by the green and white in Spartan Stadium.
On Thursday, legendary MSU Hall of Fame running back Clinton Jones spoke to the Detroit Free Press and recalled many of his fond memories playing for the Michigan State teams that dominated throughout the mid-1960s. Even then, as it does now, Spartan Stadium still carries within its walls an incredible sensation of something bigger - something more timeless than most.
“If you look at Spartan Stadium, it’s a lot like that church that people go to every Saturday,” Jones said. “Everybody gathered on Saturday to pay homage in one way or another to the Spartans.
“When we went out there, it was like a place of worship when we got out on that field. That was Spartan Stadium. That’s my take on it. The more I talk about it, it brings back things in my life. I can still feel it. And I’m 68 years old.”
This Saturday, Michigan State looks to continue their momentum after a much-needed 26-14 win over a tough Iowa team in Iowa City. This year's homecoming event is made even more special by the fact that it coincides with the team's 500th game at the stadium.
For the most part, those who come to Spartan Stadium have seen droves of success over the many, many years it has stood as Michigan State's home in East Lansing. MSU has an all-time record of 339-147-13 in its friendly confines.
And the fans have been coming to East Lansing in large numbers for quite some time. Michigan State has ranked within the top 25 teams in the country for total attendance in each of its past 57 seasons.
Former MSU running back T.J. Duckett, who played in the stadium from 1999-2001, and also watched older brother Tico star for the 1989-92 teams, says that there is something magical about Spartan Stadium that just can be matched by other college football arenas.
“It’s a unique place because of the fans,” said Duckett. “We have some of the best fans I’ve ever played for on any level. It’s something about the fight song, it’s something about Sparty, it’s something about that green and white in Spartan Stadium that for an opposing team makes it a hostile environment.
“For us, the home team, you wouldn’t want it any other way. They are not only playing against 11 on the field, but there’s also 80,000 that they have to deal with. To know that that’s there every single Saturday you play at home, it gets no better.”
You can follow MSU writer, Michael Ferro, at twitter.com/MichaelFerro.