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'Storm the Desert': Michigan State fans look to take over Sun Devil Stadium

Posted at 6:32 PM, Sep 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 00:51:53-04

With so many Midwest transplants living in the Valley, Arizona sports fans know they can expect a large contingent of visiting fans to infiltrate their stadiums and arenas whenever a team from that region comes to town.

So, it should be no surprise that a big number of Spartans fans are likely to be on hand for Saturday's game between Arizona State and No. 15 Michigan State in Tempe.

In fact, Michigan State's Arizona alumni chapter expects over 10,000 visiting fans at the Saturday night showdown at Sun Devil Stadium. ASU is expecting a total of about 55,000 fans at the game.

The group even has its own slogan for the game, "Storm the Desert," complete with a logo.

SEE ALSO: Tips for avoiding long lines at Saturday's game

“We sold our first allotment of tickets in eight minutes. According to ASU, we have sold approximately 10,000 tickets so far that they know of,” Kevin Vaughn, vice president of Michigan State's Arizona alumni chapter, told SB Nation in mid-August.

Even ASU coach Herm Edwards is expecting a strong Spartan presence in the stands Saturday.

"Even though it's not winter yet, they probably travel well," Edwards said Wednesday about Michigan State supporters. "There will probably be a lot of green in the stadium, which will be kind of interesting to see."

The Spartans' AZ alumni chapter, however, is encouraging Michigan State fans to wear white rather than green, in order to stand out among Sun Devil fans who have been asked to wear black for ASU's annual "Blackout" game. Sun Devil players will debut new black uniforms Saturday.

"We like to make our presence known like at the Rose Bowl. So, we decided to create a road game white-out," Vaughn told SB Nation.

Even with a large Spartan presence, ASU could have a different type of home-field advantage Saturday: the heat. With an expected high temperature of 107 degrees on Saturday, the temperature at kickoff -- even with a 7:50 p.m. start time -- could still be near the century mark.

Michigan State's starting quarterback, Phoenix Pinnacle High School alum Brian Lewerke, is used to those kinds of conditions. Most of his teammates are not.

"I think stamina is always a thing you think about in football. Teams that are well conditioned, especially in the second half (benefit), because when you're not conditioned, mental errors appear," Edwards said. "Dropped balls, missed tackles -- a lot of it has to do with fatigue."