1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football game


The 1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football match is regarded as one of the most significant and most controversial games in college football history played between Michigan State and Notre Dame. The match was played in Michigan State’s Spartan Stadium on November 19, 1966. Michigan State entered the contest 9–0 ranked No. 2, while Notre Dame entered 8–0 and rated No. 1. Notre Dame elected to not try for a score over the series. Notre Dame went on to win or share the national title in two polls (including both AP and UPI); Michigan State shared or won in three small surveys, and Alabama, who ended with all the only undefeated and untied album, won two small polls.
Notre Dame, which had won a national championship in 1964 (non consensus), rated No. 1 both the AP and Coaches’ polls. Defending National Champion Michigan State, who’d finished the 1965 season No. 1 in the UPI Coaches’ poll, but was upset by UCLA in the Rose Bowl the past year, entered the game ranked No. 2 in the polls. The Fighting Irish, whose bid for a national championship two years earlier was snuffed out by USC, were hungry, while the Spartans had background and home-field edge on their side. This was the very first time in 20 years a school football matchup was given the”Game of the Century” tag by the national press, and ABC had the nation’s viewers in its grip, with equal portions Notre Dame lovers and Michigan State fans. It was the tenth time at the 30-year history of the AP poll the No. 1 group played with the No. 2 team. The Spartans had conquered Notre Dame the prior year 12–3 holding Notre Dame to minus-12 yards rushing.
A fortuitous quirk in scheduling attracted these two teams together late in the season. They weren’t even supposed to meet when the 1966 schedules were drawn up. Michigan State had only nine matches scheduled (even though they had been permitted to have eight ) while Notre Dame was initially scheduled to play with Iowa that week, as had been the custom since 1945. But in 1960, the Hawkeyes suddenly dropped the Irish out of their program, from 1964 onward. Michigan State was available and agreed to come back to Notre Dame’s program in 1965–66.
The game wasn’t shown live on TV. Each team was allotted one national television appearance and two regional television appearances each season. Notre Dame had utilized their national TV slot in the season opening game against Purdue. ABC executives didn’t want to demonstrate the match anywhere but the regional area, but pressure from the West Coast and the South (to the tune of 50,000 letters) made ABC atmosphere the game on tape delay. ABC relented and blacked out the Michigan State-Notre Dame match in just two countries (reportedly North Dakota and South Dakota), so it could technically be called a regional broadcast. It would also be the first time a school football game was broadcast to Hawaii and also to U.S. troops in Vietnam. [5] The official attendance was announced at 80,011 (111% capacity) and was the most attended game in Michigan State football history at the time (the current record is 80,401 on Sept. 22, 1990 vs. Notre Dame).
Notre Dame was educated by Ara Parseghian and Michigan State was coached by Duffy Daugherty, both school legends.
A lot of the original ABC telecast footage resides. The second half exists in its entirety, as do both scoring drives starting in the second quarter (Michigan State’s field goal and Notre Dame’s touchdown).

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