(WXYZ) — It's the calm before the storm. Things are relatively quiet now outside Spartan Stadium and in downtown East Lansing, but not for long as the city preps for the big game. Whether you’re a Michigan State University senior with steadfast loyalty, or a freshman who’s parents went to the rival school, or an alumnus traveling back from out of town, you know the excitement an MSU vs University of Michigan showdown brings, along with tens of thousands of people.
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"It’s electric, there’s nothing like it," said MSU alumnus Matthew Bouche.
It's the first rivalry game with a large crowd following 2020’s unorthodox game where tighter COVID restrictions barred fans from Michigan Stadium.
“We just want to remind everybody, really encourage everybody to be patient, be respectful, and arrive early," said MSU Police Inspector Chris Rozman.
MSU Police and security staff are preparing to usher in some 75,000 fans. That’s inside Spartan Stadium alone.
Inspector Rozman says prior to the start of the season, MSU contracted with DK Security, countering a worker shortage.
"Just as we rely on some of our outside law enforcement partners to assist us on game day, we also rely on some outside security companies to supplement our security staff on game day," he said.
Additional staff for public safety.
Over at El Azteco, general manager Johnny Vlahakis says alumni are calling to reserve a table.
“We didn’t get full staff until about a week ago," said Vlahakis.
An impact of the staffing shortage caused by the pandemic, but he says with unemployment benefits over, people's dwindling funds and recruiting students directly, the establishment is at a comfortable staffing level, ready for game day.
"We’ve got enough people that prefer to work. They want to double those days. They know those are big money days for them. So it usually works out pretty good,” said Vlahakis.
Inspector Rozman emphasizes arriving early to the game.