Go Green! Go White! From Orlando

Dantonio points directly at the crowd and his voice gets louder as he speaks. "You bring your passion tomorrow. You put your game face on." He's pacing back and forth like it's halftime and the team trails by 14. "You bring your edge." Meanwhile senior Kaleb Thornhill fires up the crowd.

ORLANDO, Fla. - Michigan State represents. Fans, the Spartan band and the team showed up in force at the Bowl-a-Palooza event sponsored by Florida Citrus Sports at the Orange County Convention Center Thursday evening. Green-and-White fans substantially outnumbered their Maroon-and-Gold counterparts, coming early and closing the pep rally with a bang.

The band squeezed onto a makeshift, astro-turf football field and filled the expansive exposition hall with the Michigan State fight song. George Blaha emceed for the Spartans on the main stage, joined by the leaders of the football team.

Blaha: "And now . . . the head coach, who has made us so proud to be Spartans again, Mark Dantonio."

A hearty round of applause.

Dantonio takes the microphone and talks up Boston College, a little. "A great opponent in Boston College. A 10-3 football team, rakned 15 in the nation - but it's not in the Big Ten."

Knowing chuckles ripple through the crowd.

Peter Clifford stands his 6-foot-7 frame up and takes center stage. He thanks the sponsors, the band, the crowd, then the people who really matter. "It's been a pleasure to strap it up week-in and week-out," he says to his teammates, who, Clifford explains, have been beating up on each other the past couple of weeks in anticipation of the Eagles. But, "come five o'clock tomorrow, we have some fresh bodies out there," he says.

Clifford hands the mike to Jehuu Caulcrick, the man who set two Michigan State single season records this year with 21 rushing touchdowns and 126 points. He thanks the crowd, too, and tells them (as if he has to) exactly how they're going to be for the game. "We're going to need you . . . tomorrow, we're going to represent the Spartans." Caulcrick passes to Travis Key.

Key gives a "Go Green!"

"Go White!" the crowd roars back.

"Go Green!"

"Go White!"

"I just want you guys to be fired up tomorrow, ready to go, because I tell you what, we're ready," Key says. "Go Green!"

"Go White!"

Kaleb Thornhill, the third Thornhill to captain a Spartan squad, rises and takes the mike from Key.

"We all did this together," he tells the crowd. "You guys had a big part in it, rocking Spartan Stadium every week . . . and also, we're bringing Spartan Stadium to that new stadium tomorrow," Thornhill states, pointing in the vicinity of the Citrus Bowl. "Get your game face on," he demands. "Go Green!"

"Go White!"

Dantonio picks up, and intensifies, where Thornhill left off. He points directly at the crowd and his voice gets louder as he speaks.

"You bring your passion tomorrow. You put your game face on." He's pacing back and forth like it's halftime and the team trails by 14. "You bring your edge."

Blaha steps in and relieves the coach. He addresses the Spartans. "You are a great football team. You can play with anybody in the country," he says. "And you're going to prove it. Go Green!"

"Go White!"

"Go Green!"

"Go White!"

"Go Green!"

"Go White!"

"Go Spartans!"


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