BT game day traditions: Michigan State

I always enjoy a trip to Sparta in the fall, as Michigan State puts on a great show on game days. Spartan Nation had a strong response to the traditions request, particularly in recent days.

Keep those e-mails coming. Iowa will be up next, and I've already heard from plenty of Hawkeye fans.

Here are several of the top game-day traditions at Michigan State:

  • Zeke the Wonder Dog: These Frisbee-catching canines have been the traditional halftime entertainment for Michigan State games since the late 1970s.

  • Third quarter cheer: Between the third and fourth quarters, the drum line of Michigan State's marching band shows off its skills in the southeast corner of the stadium.

  • Go Green/Go White cheer: Just like it sounds, one group of fans will yell "Go Green!" and get answered with "Go White!" You'll hear this at every Michigan State sporting event, home or away.

  • The Series march: Named for the percussion beat used by the band on its way to the stadium, fans will line the Kalamazoo Street bridge to cheer for the band as it marches on by.

  • Spinning the 'S'/MSU shield: When the band plays the fight song before the game, it creatively shifts into a hollow block 'S' formation and marches down the field for the chorus. The band also will form the MSU shield out of nowhere to delight the crowd.

  • The Spartan Walk: Fans line the path from the Kellogg Center to the stadium as the team makes the 10-minute walk over.

  • Thunderstruck: AC/DC's hit plays through the Spartan Stadium as the team makes its entrance before games. Clips from the movie "300" have been added to the introduction.

  • Sparty statue/Sparty watch: The Spartan statue is one of the most famous parts of Michigan State's campus, and many will touch it before every game. During the week before the annual rivalry game with Michigan, members of the MSU marching band guard it to prevent vandalism.


N.K. from Santa Cruz, Calif.: Hey Adam, this is for BT game-day traditions: Michigan State University. As the section leader of the 2004 Michigan State University Drumline, I played for all MSU home games and many away games. The crowd in East Lansing is louder than in any other place that I have been, including Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame. The MSU Marching Band's pregame Run-On is amazing. Also, the drumline's Third Quarter Cheer is unparalleled because it combines difficult beats, a large acoustic-electronic drum rack, cymbal tosses and the dance team. The drumline's game-day routine on Grand River Avenue in front of the Student Bookstore is epic. We are known as the best college marching band and drumline in the Big Ten because of our rich traditions.

Andrew from East Lansing, Mich.: Hey Adam, I know you already have most of the stuff done now for traditions but here are the ones I have: Zeek the wonder dog at halftime catching frisbees, Sparty planting the flag at midfield, touching the Spartan statue before every game and camping out next to it for big games, the "go green" "go white" cheer, the landslide after scoring a touchdown, and most importantly the best tailgate in the Big Ten.

Maureen from Boston: Hey Adam, I'm going to guess that some of my fellow Michigan State alumni have written to you about including Zeke the Wonder Dog in your feature on game-day traditions. I attended MSU in the early 80s when the original Zeke did his awesome frisbee tricks in Spartan Stadium at halftime. I think there is a YouTube video about the current Zeke and his trainer. Always a fan favorite and a great Spartan game-day tradition.

Robbie from Philadelphia: As an MSU alumnus and third-generation Spartan, my love for the green and white is true (and has driven several girlfriends away with my maniacal behavior during MSU football games). I have to weigh in on game-day traditions, since I have always thought this is what makes college football so great. Now that I am no longer a student, tailgating with the students at the tennis courts is not so appealing. However, many students and alumni will gather and drink beer while watching the band warm-up at Walter Adams Field. From there, with about an hour and a half before kick off, the band marches (probably a quarter of a mile) to the stadium. Notable on this march, while the percussion performs the cadence, is the high step that the band engages in as they cross the bridge over the Red Cedar River. From there, they pass the Spartan Statue, which I am sure has been mentioned already that during the Michigan game week is heavily guarded by members of the band. During the game, in between the 3rd and 4th quarters, two band members, one carrying an MSU flag the other carrying the flag of the opponent, race around the sidelines of the field. Of course the MSU flag always wins. This is followed by the drumline and dance team performing in front of the student section.