(WXYZ) — The University of Michigan and Michigan State University prepare to square off at noon Saturday on Halloween, but the atmosphere at Michigan's first home game is expected to be much different due to a ban on tailgating thanks to COVID-19.
Ann Arbor is typically much harder to navigate on game day. The Big House seats 100,000 plus, but this year there's no public access to the game. And parts of Ann Arbor will look like a ghost town.
It's one of the biggest in-state rivalries in all of college football, and fans across the state of Michigan look forward to bragging rights every year.
The University of Michigan versus Michigan State University game excitement preceded by tailgating every year except this one due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We've been working really hard with the City of Ann Arbor, the Washtenaw County, even our partners in East Lansing, to send a clear message that we don't want and we can't handle any tailgating, it's not allowed," said Martino Harmon.
Martino Harmon is the Vice President of Student Life at the University of Michigan, where key changes this year include:
no tailgating in stadium parking lots, parking at the golf course and Ann Arbor Pioneer High School isn't allowed, and the lots will be blocked off.
And there's no public access to the game this year.
Dr. Rudolph Valentini of the Detroit Medical Center stressed the importance of these rules on our 7 UpFront segment Thursday night.
"Watch the game at your house and either talk to friends on the phone or FaceTime, whatever you have to do," said Dr. Valentini.
Leading up to U-M's first home game this season, students were ordered to 'stay in place' earlier this month by the Washtenaw County Health Department. So like their classes, they're encouraged to partake in the game from home.
"We know that the game is important and Halloween is important," said Harmon. "But we also know that there will be more games and Halloween next year. So it's important for people to be safe and be well so we don't ruin future opportunities for everyone."
U-M fans are encouraged to show off their team spirit by using #hailfromhome. The kick-off for the game is at noon.