The 1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football game is considered one of the most significant and most controversial games in college football history played between Michigan State and Notre Dame. The game has been played in Michigan State’s Spartan Stadium on November 19, 1966. Michigan State entered the competition 9–0 and ranked No. 2, while Notre Dame entered 8–0 and ranked No. 1. Notre Dame elected not to try to find a score on the series. Notre Dame went on to win or share the national title in two polls (including the AP and UPI); Michigan State won or shared in three small surveys, and Alabama, who finished with the only undefeated and untied record, won two minor surveys.
Notre Dame, which had won a national championship in 1964 (non consensus), ranked No. 1 both AP and Coaches’ polls. Defending National Champion Michigan State, who had completed the 1965 season No. 1 in the UPI Coaches’ poll, but was upset by UCLA at 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 decades earlier had been snuffed out by USC, were hungry, although the Spartans had history and home-field edge in their side. This was the first time in 20 years a school football matchup was awarded the”Game of the Century” tag by the national media, and ABC had the nation’s audiences in its grip, 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 the No. 1 group 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. When the 1966 programs were drawn up they weren’t even supposed to fulfill. Michigan State had only nine games scheduled (although they were allowed to have eight ) while Notre Dame was originally scheduled to play with Iowa that week, as had been the custom since 1945. However, in 1960, the Hawkeyes abruptly dropped the Irish from their program, from 1964 onward. Michigan State was accessible and agreed to return to Notre Dame’s program in 1965–66.
The game was not shown on nationwide TV. Each team has been allotted one national television appearance and two regional television appearances each season. Notre Dame had used their nationwide TV slot in the season opening game against Purdue. ABC executives did not want to show 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 air the game on tape delay. ABC relented and blacked from the Michigan State-Notre Dame match in just two states (reportedly North Dakota and South Dakota), so it might 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.  The official attendance was declared at 80,011 (111% potential ) 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 forces beginning in the next quarter (Michigan State’s field goal and Notre Dame’s touchdown).
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