Athletic director Mark Hollis took to Twitter on Sunday night to express his "embarrassment" with the pockets of empty seats that filled the student section during Saturday's prime-time, nationally televised game against the Cornhuskers.
He said he spoke to members of the student body about finding ways to increase attendance.
I spoke with many students & they share my disappointment and embarrassment of the support coming from the southeast corner on Saturday.— Mark Hollis (@MSUAD) October 6, 2014
We will work together to build a student section that enhances our teams ability to win championships. From kickoff to the end of the game.— Mark Hollis (@MSUAD) October 6, 2014
As a program, we are prepared to make the changes that will fill Spartan Stadium with Spartan fans that want to be there.— Mark Hollis (@MSUAD) October 6, 2014
Hollis said more than 13,000 students bought season tickets to this year's home games. Their corner of the stadium never filled Saturday for one of the most anticipated Big Ten regular-season games of the season.
By the fourth quarter, when Michigan State built a 27-3 lead on a wet night with temperatures in the 40s, more bleachers were visible than bodies.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio and a few Spartans players said they noticed the evaporating crowd during the fourth quarter. The noise decreased, they said, during Nebraska's late comeback bid.
"We needed it to be loud there, and it's a big football game, and it got a little empty there at the end," Dantonio said Saturday night.
The coach didn't mind a weaker student section in recent home wins over Eastern Michigan and Wyoming. He considered stopping himself short of commenting on Saturday's crowd, but after a pause decided to say that he, too, was "disappointed" in those who didn't stick around.
"I appreciate the fans that did stay. The fans that left, that's just not right," he said.
Michigan State has not lost in its 75,000-seat stadium since Nov. 17, 2012. The Spartans have an 11-game home win streak.
A weak student section also made headlines the last time Nebraska visited East Lansing. Then, basketball coach Tom Izzo called out the student body for not filling its quota of seats during a November loss to the Cornhuskers.
Michigan State next plays in Spartan Stadium on Oct. 25 against in-state rival Michigan.