1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football game
The 1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football match is regarded as one of the greatest 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 and ranked No. 2, while Notre Dame entered 8–0 and ranked 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 two polls (such as both AP and UPI); Michigan State shared or won in three minor surveys, and Alabama, who finished with the only undefeated and untied album, won 2 small polls.
Notre Dame, which had last won a national championship in 1964 (non consensus), ranked No. 1 both the AP and Coaches’ polls. Defending National Champion Michigan State, who had completed the 1965 season No. 1 in the UPI Coaches’ poll, but had been upset by UCLA at 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 years earlier had been snuffed out by USC, were hungry, although the Spartans had background and home-field edge in their side. This was the very first time in 20 years that a college football matchup was given the”Game of the Century” label by the national media, and ABC had the nation’s viewers in its grip, with equal portions Notre Dame fans and Michigan State fans. This was the tenth time at the 30-year history of this AP poll the No. 1 team played 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 2 teams together late in the season. They were not even supposed to fulfill when the 1966 programs were first drawn up. Michigan State had just nine matches scheduled (although they were permitted to have eight ) while Notre Dame was initially scheduled to play Iowa that week, as had been the custom since 1945. However, in 1960, the Hawkeyes abruptly dropped the Irish out of their program, from 1964 onward. Michigan State was accessible and agreed to come back to Notre Dame’s schedule in 1965–66.
The game wasn’t shown on TV. Each team was allotted one national television appearance and also two regional television appearances every year. Notre Dame had used their nationwide TV slot in the season opening game against Purdue. ABC executives didn’t even want to show the game everywhere but the regional place, 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 game in two states (allegedly North Dakota and South Dakota), therefore it might theoretically be called a regional broadcast. It would also be the first time a school football game was broadcast to Hawaii and to U.S. troops in Vietnam.  The official attendance was declared 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 coached by Ara Parseghian and Michigan State was coached by Duffy Daugherty, both school legends.
Much of the ABC telecast footage survives. The second half exists in its entirety, as do both scoring forces beginning in the second quarter (Michigan State’s field goal and Notre Dame’s touchdown).
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