When I told my dad, a Michigan State alum, that I was going to East Lansing after the game last Saturday, he advised me not to wear University apparel. “It’s probably safer not to,” he hinted ominously. But when trekking through State’s sprawling campus, I found my State brethren to be in jolly moods, despite an absurd amount of police presence. My State friend had taken to pointing out the police slowly cruising around East Lansing.

“There’s another one,” she dully said approximately 25 times on our 45-minute exodus to a house party.

On Grand River Avenue, a large stretch that eerily parallels our State Street, the police were even more apparent. Two mounted officers were clopping intimidatingly past bars; those hellishly large horses looked ready to curb-stomp any bystander that got out of line.

I didn’t witness any hoof-stomping — but just because I have no actual evidence doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. I don’t really think drunken revelers mix well with even the most well-trained equines, but it sure beats attempting to police State’s gigantic campus on foot.

“The police presence is crazy — there are like five different police departments including campus police that are out every weekend,” said one LSA junior. The student, who transferred from State to Michigan, chose to remain anonymous because he is underage. He attributed the increased police presence to State kids’ party-prone ways.

After seeing the vast number of police cars swarming the campus, I contacted the Michigan State University Police multiple times in an effort to find out if the influx of backup was simply due to the big game. But unsurprisingly, no one picked up the phone — probably because they were all stationed somewhere on campus.

Though I didn’t witness the police actually interacting with students, I saw a few “fights” that broke out due to wandering packs of bloodthirsty State kids aggressively heckling the poor University bastards who were brave or stupid enough to wear maize and blue.

A bright spot on this mass exodus to party: The Campus Crusade for Christ student group was stationed at an ordinary house party, grilling “Jesus Dogs” to distribute to hungry partiers. One campus crusader said he just wanted to make sure people were drinking on a full stomach and staying safe. Even though the stereotype is that East Lansing is crazy, many seemed to be on the lookout for others.

The visible police presence may be more pronounced at State, but wayward Michigan kids should take comfort in the fact that East Lansing and Ann Arbor have many similarities. They both have a Potbelly, an American Apparel and some zany, sign-wielding zealots who preach on street corners. The fire and brimstone-breathing old guys standing on literal soapboxes in downtown Ann Arbor condemning random passersby are apparently a franchise.

They’ve also been dispatched to East Lansing to assure the Spartans they are also going to rot in hell for a whole litany of “sins.” East Lansing is definitely not lacking in folksy charm.

But there exist differences between the nightlife at the two rival universities, as many wide-eyed University of Michigan kids have discovered in East Lansing.

A State sophomore who grew up in Ann Arbor and preferred not to be identified as a drinker confirmed that in East Lansing, students have to pay five dollars per cup at a party.

“People party a lot more in East Lansing, so it’s sort of the price of admission,” she said.

But in a lot of ways, State kids are just like us. They require post-party fuel in order to trek back home after a night of revelry. The entire party scene revolves around one street — Grand River, in their case. And they have a Panchero’s, too.

But where we found the real after-party was at the packed double decker McDonald’s on the outskirts along Grand River. There was a line to get into the golden arches with an exasperated, elderly security guard acting as a bouncer. The tired, sad-eyed man attempted to control the scene, but people spilled into the establishment in waves of green and white.

Another one of the ever-present security guards was stationed upstairs peering warily down at the hordes of hungry students jostling over their place in line, and the workers behind the counter patiently repeated orders back to their slurring customers. And when one blurry-eyed patron decked out in Spartan colors asked if he could have the rest of my fries, I felt a sense of camaraderie with our (little) brother school. They aren’t so different from us — but if you come, come mounted on your own police steed, because seriously, that campus is huge.

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