EAST LANSING - Coming off a 38-14 win over Michigan State, the Spartans are in the middle of their preparation for Florida Atlantic University, which will play host to Mark Dantonio and his ballclub at Ford Field in Detroit on Saturday.
The game between FAU and Michigan State is being marketed as "Spartans in the D," a phrase coined by Michigan State. That catch phrase is about the only thing that Michigan State has contributed to the marketing of the game which is controlled completely by FAU.
The Owls were also responsible for setting the ticket prices of the game, which would have been played in Florida if FAU had been able to finish their new stadium in time for kick-off.
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Sluggish ticket sales have many predicting that the game between Florida Atlantic and Michigan State will come nowhere near selling out 65,000-seat Ford Field. When Michigan State has marketed and set ticket prices for events held in Detroit, the Spartans have been a big draw. If the Spartans do not draw a large number of football fans to Saturday's game, lack of fan support will likely become a talking point for those eager to criticize Dantonio's fourth-year program.
While ticket sales and fan interest will undoubtedly be topics of discussion on radio shows and internet message boards, many of the players on the Michigan State football team are eager to play the game against Florida Atlantic in the own hometown.
Former Farmington Hills Harrison star Mark Dell said the game at Ford Field will give many of his extended family members and friends that have not seen him play a game in Spartan Stadium a chance to the senior wide receiver play for the first time since high school. Dell estimates that as many as 40 of his family and friends will be at the game.
After practice on Tuesday, SpartanMag.com staffers Jim Comparoni and Paul Konyndyk spent a good chunk of the latest V-Cast discussing the performance of Dell against Western Michigan and the potential of a carry-over into Week 2. Dell was the best wide-out on the field for Michigan against the Broncos and as the game progressed the talented senior appeared to step into the role vacated by Blair White as the go-to receiver for Kirk Cousins.
While Dell took strides toward becoming the face of the MSU receiving corps on offense, Colin Neely did as much as anybody on the other side of the football to cement his status as ringleader of the MSU defensive ends. Neely's development is another topic discussed in the V-Cast.
The best news of the day came from junior quarterback Kirk Cousins, who informed members of the Spartan press corps that three walk-ons had been put on scholarship by Dantonio. Kicker Dan Conroy, defensive end Todd Anderson, and fullback Nick Bendzuck each learned Tuesday afternoon that they were now on scholarship.
The contribution of all three former walk-ons during Saturday's game was discussed by Comp and PK in the latest V-Cast.