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 game 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 final series. Notre Dame went on to acquire or share the national title in fourteen polls (including the AP and UPI); Michigan State won or shared in three minor polls, and Alabama, who ended with the only undefeated and untied record, won 2 minor polls.
Notre Dame, which had last won a national championship in 1964 (non consensus), ranked No. 1 both AP and Coaches’ polls. Defending National Champion Michigan State, who had finished the 1965 season No. 1 at the UPI Coaches’ survey, but had been upset by UCLA in the Rose Bowl the previous year, entered the match ranked No. 2 in the polls. The Fighting Irish, whose bid for a national championship two decades earlier was snuffed out by USC, were hungry, although the Spartans had history and home-field edge in their side. This was the very first time in 20 years that a college football matchup was awarded the”Game of the Century” tag by the national press, and ABC had the nation’s viewers in its clasp, with equal portions Notre Dame lovers and Michigan State fans. This was the very first time in the 30-year history of this AP poll that the No. 1 group played with the No. 2 team. The Spartans had conquered Notre Dame the previous year 12–3 holding Notre Dame to minus-12 yards rushing.
A fortuitous quirk in scheduling attracted these 2 teams together late in the season. They were not even supposed to fulfill when the 1966 programs were drawn up. Michigan State had only nine games scheduled (although they were permitted to have eight ) while Notre Dame was originally scheduled to play with Iowa that week, as had been the custom since 1945. But in 1960, the Hawkeyes abruptly 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 match wasn’t shown on TV. Each group has been allotted one nationwide television appearance and two regional television appearances every year. Notre Dame had used their national TV slot at the season opening game against Purdue. ABC executives didn’t even want to show the match everywhere but the regional area, but pressure from the West Coast and the South (to the tune of 50,000 letters) made ABC air the game on tape delay. ABC relented and blacked out the Michigan State-Notre Dame match in two states (reportedly North Dakota and South Dakota), so it might theoretically be called a regional broadcast. It would also be the first time a college football game was broadcast to Hawaii and also to U.S. troops in Vietnam. [5] The official attendance was announced at 80,011 (111% potential ) and was the most attended match in Michigan State football history at the time (the present record is 80,401 on Sept. 22, 1990 vs. Notre Dame).
Notre Dame was coached by Ara Parseghian and Michigan State was coached by Duffy Daugherty, both college legends.
A lot of the first ABC telecast footage survives. The second half is present in its entirety, as do both scoring forces beginning in the next quarter (Michigan State’s field goal and Notre Dame’s touchdown).

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