The 1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football game is regarded as among the greatest and most controversial games in college football history played between Michigan State and Notre Dame. The match has been 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 ranked No. 1. Notre Dame elected not to try to find a score over the 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 all the only undefeated and untied record, won two minor polls.
Notre Dame, which had won a national championship in 1964 (non consensus), ranked No. 1 both the AP and Coaches’ polls. Defending National Champion Michigan State, who had finished the 1965 year No. 1 at the UPI Coaches’ survey, but had been upset by UCLA in the Rose Bowl the past calendar year, entered the game 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, while the Spartans had background and home-field edge on their side. This was the first time in 20 years that a school football matchup was given the”Game of the Century” label by the national media, and ABC had the country’s audiences in its clasp, with equal portions Notre Dame lovers and Michigan State fans. This was the very first time at the 30-year history of this AP poll that the No. 1 team played the No. 2 team. The Spartans had defeated 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. When the 1966 programs were first drawn up, they were not even supposed to fulfill. Michigan State had just nine games scheduled (although they had been allowed to have ten) while Notre Dame was originally scheduled to play 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 live on nationwide TV. Each team has been allotted one national television appearance and also two regional television appearances every year. Notre Dame had used their national TV slot at the season opening game against Purdue. ABC executives did not want to demonstrate the game anywhere 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 from the Michigan State-Notre Dame match in two states (allegedly North Dakota and South Dakota), therefore it could technically 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 announced at 80,011 (111% capacity) and was the most attended game in Michigan State football history at the time (the present 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 college legends.
A lot of the ABC telecast footage resides. 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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