Added to last year’s controversial loss and “Blue Out” this year, the suspension of two Michigan State football players will make Saturday’s in-state rivalry one of the most anticipated games ever, students said.

LSA senior Dustin Gress remembers the final seconds of last year’s game well.

“It used to be that the home team hired the timekeeper, but (after last year) a member of the officiating crew sits in the press box.”

Gress said he believes the Spartans’ dubious 26-24 win last year will encourage the game’s competitive nature.

“It’s almost a good thing that they beat us,” he said. “It makes for an even greater rivalry.”

The rivalry will also feature the first-annual “Blue Out,” which organizer Rebecca Feferman said has had strong support.

“We’ve already sold 2,000 shirts and have 2,000 more to go. … The shirts are selling quicker every day.”

Feferman added that the reaction to the shirts has been better than expected, and that out-of-state fans are even purchasing the shirts online.

“The original idea was to unite the student section, but we’ve gotten a huge response from people other than students. But we will still be outside the stadium to get anyone not wearing blue as they go in,” she said.

At $10 each, the shirts read “Blue Out” on the front and “Go Blue, Beat MSU” on the back. LSA seniors Melissa Roach, Maggie Malone and Feferman conceived “Blue Out” when they witnessed a southern university fan section use a similar tradition.

Conversely, a different tradition – planes towing advertisements over the stadium – appeared to be defunct according to attendees of last weekend’s game.

When the government declared the nation on a high “orange” security level last Sept. 13, banner-towing planes were restricted from flying over large open-air facilities. The lack of planes last weekend caused some concern, but the Athletic Department said the phenomenon was only weather-related.

“The clouds were so low that the planes were restricted from flying,” Executive Associate Athletic Director Mike Stevenson said. “With good weather, we’ll see the planes this weekend.”

Students said they are preparing for the game in various ways. LSA senior Erin Bonnivier said she plans to stay home to tailgate.

“My friend and I sold our tickets and invited some friends from home. We’re going to watch it on TV because the view is better than our seats,” she said.

Gress said he is definitely going to the game, and will get up at 8 a.m. to prepare for it.

His house on South State Street pre-parties for every game, but has planned a few specialties for Saturday’s.

“We will have a couple kegs and will heckle State fans as they go by.”

For fans passing by, Gress added that they also carved an obscene, anti-State pumpkin.

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