Michigan State Moves Season Finale Vs. Penn State to Ford Field
Michigan State football is closing out the 2023 regular season at Ford Field against the Penn State Nittany Lions, the team announced Wednesday. The game will take place on Friday, November 24 at 7:30 p.m. on NBC and streaming on Peacock.
The Spartans will relinquish a home game to play in the Detroit Lions home stadium to give Detroit four straight days of football at all levels. The Lions will host the Green Bay Packers for its annual Thanksgiving game the day before, the first time the two have met on the holiday in a decade. Bookending the weekend will be the MHSAA football championship games on Saturday and Sunday.
"The decision to move a home game out of Spartan Stadium was given careful consideration, as we understand the impact it will have on some fans," MSU Vice President and Director of Athletics Alan Haller said in the announcement. "As a community partner, we recognize home football brings benefits to the entire Mid-Michigan area. The fact that this game falls on a holiday weekend Friday increased our willingness make the move. I believe our season ticket holders still have a strong collection of home games highlighted by Michigan and a premier non-conference game against Washington, with a total of six home games just as we had in 2021."
Fan perception appears split on social media. Some are not in favor of playing indoors in November or losing a home game at all. Others see the holiday benefit as flying into Detroit is cheaper than Lansing. While Penn State fans are known for traveling well, the Detroit area is home to thousands of Michigan State grads. Naturally, student travel will be accommodated just as well as any other neutral site game. The idea of Ford Field being neutral to a Michigan-based program is up for debate, but it's an understandable concern for fans.
While it was the Big Ten Conference's idea to move the game, Michigan State's willingness to move makes sense for the program on the football side. A guaranteed national spotlight in an NFL stadium should prove beneficial to head coach Mel Tucker's recruiting efforts in some manner.
"This is an exciting opportunity for our program to play in prime time on a holiday weekend," Tucker said. "Our players will be able to compete in an NFL environment while being showcased in the national spotlight. I'm looking forward to our fans creating a loud atmosphere and giving us a home-field advantage at Ford Field."
This is the second game for the Spartans at Ford Field. The most recent was in 2010 when Florida Atlantic changed its home game location. Michigan State won the game 30-17.
As for Penn State, the home team has won the past three matchups in the series with the Nittany Lions taking last year's game 35-16. The series is tied between the programs at 18-18-1.