Tuesday, April 23, 2024

MSU Football players excited for change of scenery in last game of season at Ford Field in Detroit

November 21, 2023
<p>Sophomore safety Darius Snow (23) tackles Penn State's junior running back Devyn Ford (28) in MSU's match against the Nittany Lions at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.</p>

Sophomore safety Darius Snow (23) tackles Penn State's junior running back Devyn Ford (28) in MSU's match against the Nittany Lions at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.

Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

The Michigan State Football team will conclude its rollercoaster of a season at its home away from home on Friday night facing No. 11 ranked Penn State at Ford Field

Sitting on a 4-7 record, there doesn’t seem to be much left to play for to the average viewer, as the Spartans were eliminated from bowl game contention two weeks back in a loss to No. 2 ranked Ohio State. However, the closing message on the year is more significant than wins and losses.

MSU elected to move one of the team’s home games for the 2023 season to Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. Instead of battling it out in the cold Michigan November weather, the Spartans and Nittany Lions will take part in a Black Friday special for the upcoming matchup.

Initial complaints took place due to essentially forfeiting one of Michigan State’s home games. But at the tail end of the year, the players are looking forward to changing the scenery in a rare opportunity.

“It’s exciting, you know,” redshirt senior running back Jaren Mangham said. I can’t wait to go back home. I haven’t actually been to Ford Field in like six years since we won the state championship at Cass Tech, so I’m really just looking forward to you know, going back home.”

Beyond football there is always a greater story. Mangham’s family is especially excited to greet him because of his lengthy college career that could possibly end with one last game near his hometown area

The opportunity to return close to home is there for some players, but the main theme for the entire team is the last game together as the season closes with the roster that is in place currently. There is obvious uncertainty surrounding the program with a potential head coaching search and transfer portal looming, so one last ride as a group speaks tons of volume

“We kind of just bring everybody to the fight knowing that this is our last game,” freshman defensive lineman Jalen Thompson said. “This is some of the seniors' last game. Just got to make sure we bring as many people to the fight as we can.”

The Spartans are coming off a 24-21 comeback win over Indiana this past weekend and will look to build off of that momentum heading into Friday. Unfortunately for MSU, games against ranked opponents have not been their strong suit. In matchups versus No. 4 ranked Washington, No. 3 ranked Michigan and No. 2 ranked Ohio State, Michigan State has been outscored 128-10.

Every week has been a new opportunity for improvement and the Spartans’ motto to close the season has been to “finish.” With the Nittany Lions coming to town, it will be important to keep an eye out for any adjustments made so the game doesn’t get out of hand quickly like the past three occurrences against ranked teams for MSU.

“Playing against those teams that are ranked and have better defenses and stuff, it’s definitely a learning experience for sure,” redshirt freshman quarterback Katin Houser said. “And going back to those games, you kind of want to see what went wrong in those games and maybe improve that going into the next game.”

The stakes aren’t high, but the Spartans want nothing more than to end the season on a high note. Michigan State has a chance to prove they have overcome their past mistakes or sink against better competition as they have a tough another challenge to face this week.

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