Michigan State Wins, 30-17, Over Florida Atlantic

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Announced Attendance For MSU-FAU At Ford Field: 36,124

Watching the Spartans play at Ford Field apparently wasn’t enough of a draw for Michigan State fans. For Saturday’s game versus Florida Atlantic, the announced attendance was 36,124.

But with sales of 25,000 tickets being announced a couple of days ago, it appears that the game did bring a decent walk-up crowd.

The announced crowd total was probably pretty accurate, according to the Lansing State Journal’s Joe Rexrode:

It was more than half full in there once the game got going, an announced crowd of 36,124. Not terribly impressive, but not bad considering how things looked a month ago. Schnellenberger said he was “frankly kind of pleased” with the turnout.

“I’m not worried about the ones that don’t come,” Dantonio said, “I appreciate the ones that do come, and that’s the way I’ll always be. So I want to thank them for coming, I thought it was a good environment.”

Capacity for Ford Field is listed at 65,000.

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Spartans Gain Over 200 Yards Rushing For 2nd Straight Game

Despite Larry Caper once again sitting out with an injured right hand (he was a game-time decision), Michigan State gained 200 yards rushing for the second straight game.

Overall, the Spartans rushed for 225 yards against the Florida Atlantic defense, en route to a 30-17 win. Last week versus Western Michigan, MSU gained 297 yards on the ground.

Edwin Baker may have established himself as the Spartans’ top running back, rushing for 183 yards and one touchdown on just 15 carries. (His TD run went for 80 yards.) Le’Veon Bell added 63 yards on 10 carries.

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Michigan State Wins, 30-17, Over Florida Atlantic At Ford Field

Detroit, MI (Sports Network) – Edwin Baker rumbled for 183 yards and a touchdown to help lift the Michigan State Spartans to a 30-17 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls in non-conference action at Ford Field.

Kirk Cousins completed only 9-of-17 passes for 142 yards for Michigan State (2-0), finishing with one touchdown and one interception.

Jeff VanCamp led FAU (1-1) with 215 yards and a TD on 23-of-35 passing, while Rob Housler finished with seven catches for 75 yards.

The Spartans got on the board first with a 44-yard field goal by Dan Conroy four minutes into the game.

MSU made it 10-0 on a nine-yard touchdown run by Le’Veon Bell at the 9:33 mark of the opening quarter, which was set up by a 47-yard punt return by Keshawn Martin.

Later in the first quarter, the Owls cut the deficit to 10-7 on a two-yard TD plunge by Alfred Morris, capping a 15-play, 76-yard drive that lasted seven- and-a-half minutes.

The Spartans stretched their lead to 17-7 on a 30-yard scoring strike from Cousins to B.J. Cunningham with just under 10 minutes remaining until halftime.

Conroy added a 41-yard field goal later in the second quarter, as the Spartans took a 20-7 lead into the half.

Baker broke free for an 80-yard touchdown burst at the 10:33 mark of the third quarter to make it a 20-point game.

Another long drive by FAU trimmed the margin to 27-14, as VanCamp found Xavier Stinson for a two-yard touchdown pass with just under three minutes to play in the third quarter.

Conroy booted a 50-yarder at the 9:16 mark of the fourth quarter, but FAU could only muster a 24-yard field goal by Ross Gornall the rest of the way.

Michigan State controlled the tempo with its ground game, as the Spartans ran for 225 yards and averaged an impressive 7.5 yards per carry as a team.

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Michigan State Vs. Florida Atlantic Preview

(Preview from The Sports Network)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Ford Field (65,000) -- Detroit, Michigan. Television:ESPNU. Home Record: MSU 1-0, FAU 0-0. Away Record: MSU 0-0, FAU 1-0. Neutral Record: MSU 0-0, FAU 0-0. Conference Record: MSU 0-0, FAU 0-0. Series Record: Michigan State leads, 1-0.

GAME NOTES: Ford Field in Detroit is the venue for this weekend's non- conference bout featuring the Florida Atlantic Owls and the Michigan State Spartans.

The Owls kicked off their 2010 campaign on the road, where they prevailed 32-31 over UAB on September 2nd. It was a terrific win for FAU, which finished just 5-7 last season following an 0-4 start.

The Spartans also started off their season with a victory, as they registered a 38-14 home triumph over Western Michigan on Saturday. It marked the third season opening win in four tries under head coach Mark Dantonio, who is hoping to lead MSU to a better showing then last year's 6-7 finish.

The only prior meeting between FAU and MSU on the gridiron took place in '08, with the Spartans blanking the Owls by a 17-0 score.

The Spartans ran wild in the opener, as they gained 297 yards on the ground in a 38-14 win over WMU. MSU averaged 8.0 yards per carry and scored four TDs via the run. Freshman Le'Veon Bell headed the charge with 141 yards and two scores on 10 carries, while Edwin Baker added 117 yards and a pair of TDs on 17 attempts. They became the first MSU tandem to run for 100 yards in a game since '06. QB Kirk Cousins did a nice job playing off the running game, as he completed 13-of-21 pass attempts for 186 yards and a score. It was a good beginning for Cousins, who threw for 2,680 yards and 19 TDs in his first go- around as the starter in '09.

On the defensive side of the ball, MSU also did a solid job by holding WMU to 323 yards, including just 85 rushing. The unit forced three turnovers in the contest as well and that is especially good news for a group that had only 14 takeaways a season ago. Greg Jones, who logged 154 tackles last season, had a team-high nine stops to go with a forced fumble, while Colin Neely notched the squad's lone sack.

Trailing 31-26, Alfred Morris scored on 38-yard scamper with 2:20 remaining, helping FAU to rally for a season-opening victory over UAB. Morris, who ran for a school-record 1,392 yards in '09, finished the game with 103 yards on 16 carries. QB Jeff Van Camp also enjoyed a successful night, as he threw for 254 yards with three TDs against one interception. It was a good effort from Van Camp, who took over as the starter down the stretch last season. Lester Jean was clearly his favorite target, pulling in nine balls for 164 yards and two TDs. Jean, who hauled in a 77-yard TD pass, fell just short of the school- record of 183 receiving yards.

FAU's defense was gashed by UAB's ground attack, which was led by QB David Isabelle, as the unit permitted 345 rushing yards behind a 7.3 yard per carry average. Opponents averaged a whopping 220.6 ypg on the ground versus the Owls last season and they didn't look any bit improved in the opener. The defense, though, did come up with a big play when Brentley Harstad took back an INT 38 yards for a score to pull FAU within nine pints midway through the third quarter. It was the first INT of Harstad's career and it couldn't have come at a better time. The special teams however, still had to bail out the defense after the unit allowed UAB to drive 69 yards in the final two-plus minutes. UAB set up for a 28-yard field goal on the final play, but FAU was able to block the kick to preserve the one-point win.

Behind their electric ground attack, expect the Spartans to roll over a FAU squad that simply can not stop the run.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Michigan State 40, Florida Atlantic 13

Saturday, September 11th, 12:00 p.m. (et)

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Around 25,000 Tickets Sold For MSU-FAU Game At Ford Field

It has been no secret that tickets haven't exactly been selling all that well for Saturday's game at Ford Field between Michigan State and Florida Atlantic. A number of factors have contributed to the lack of sold tickets, including high prices and the fact that the game is at Ford Field. Many fans just would rather not watch a game at an NFL stadium, especially when the Spartans have five home games and an away game in Ann Arbor during the first seven weeks of the season.

The latest update about tickets to this game was provided today, and it revealed that the 25,000-ticket mark was just passed. Considering Ford Field's capacity is 65,000 seats, that's not very good.

To put that figure into some context, 30,331 people showed up for the Little Caesars Bowl last year between Marshall and Ohio. That was the lowest attendance for the bowl game in its history, but right now that number is about 5,000 more than the amount of tickets sold to the MSU-FAU game. There will definitely be walk ups that buy tickets on the day of the game, but will every single person that has tickets actually use them? Probably not, so 30,000 seems right in the ballpark of an estimate for the size of the crowd on Saturday.

As for who is to blame for the poor ticket sales, it depends who you ask. Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said the Spartans were never asked to give their feedback on the prices, whereas FAU is saying that the prices were based on what would have happened if MSU's game against Western Michigan last season wasn't moved from Ford Field to Spartan Stadium. In that regard, FAU is blaming MSU somewhat, both for the prices and for the fans' lack of interest in the game.

As [Florida Atlantic's assistant athletic director for marketing Dexter LaMont] said, "We're still hoping the Michigan State faithful will wake up."

Apparently FAU's original plan was to move the game to Spartan Stadium and split the revenues with MSU, but the Owls believe MSU "didn't want to overburden their season-ticket holders with another game there." That would have driven the cost of season tickets up and with MSU having to split the revenues, it's likely that it wasn't worthwhile enough for the Spartans.

At the end of the day, the two sides can blame each other for the overall lack of interest in all of this, but this wouldn't have ever happened if FAU had simply built its new stadium in time for the game. Had that simply happened, this game would be in Florida and this talk of poor ticket sales wouldn't be an issue.

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Michigan State Readies To Take On Florida Atlantic At Ford Field

Following a 38-14 victory over Western Michigan this past Saturday, Michigan State is ready to turn its attention to Florida Atlantic, which plays the Spartans this upcoming Saturday at Ford Field. This game is unique because it is at the home of the Lions, yet Michigan State will be the away team.

The story behind how this matchup came to be is that Michigan State and FAU agreed to a two-for-one series. MSU gets two home games out of the series but has to play at FAU in 2010. Pretty simple, no? Well, there was a complication in the form of FAU's new stadium not being ready in time for this game, forcing it to be moved. FAU had plenty of choices as far as where it could be held, but they ultimately decided on Ford Field in Detroit. That isn't the best decision for competitive purposes because atmosphere-wise it will be like a Spartans home game, but financially speaking, it was a wise decision.

The last time FAU played Michigan State was two years ago in a monsoon at Spartan Stadium. MSU won by a score of 17-0, surviving the rainy weather thanks mainly to Javon Ringer, who racked up nearly 300 yards. The Owls and Spartans will meet again in East Lansing in 2011 to close out this three-game series.

Because this Saturday's contest is technically an away game for Michigan State, it won't be found on the Big Ten Network, which is where you would usually expect to find a matchup like this. Instead it will be broadcast on ESPNU at 12:00 p.m. ET.

MSU should win this game pretty easily, so the thing I will be most interested in is what the crowd looks like. The last update about ticket sales for this game was not very promising, but then again, many people are expected to buy tickets on the day of the game. Either way, it will be interesting to see how empty or full Ford Field is on Saturday for Michigan State's first game in Detroit since 1944.

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