The 1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football game is considered among 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 ranked No. 2, while Notre Dame entered 8–0 and rated No. 1. Notre Dame elected not to try to find a score over the series the match finished at a 10–10 tie. Notre Dame went on to acquire or share the national title in two polls (including the AP and UPI); Michigan State won or shared in three minor polls, and Alabama, who finished with the only undefeated and untied record, won two minor surveys.
Notre Dame, which had last won a national championship in 1964 (non consensus), rated No. 1 both the AP and Coaches’ polls. Defending National Champion Michigan State, who’d completed the 1965 year No. 1 at the UPI Coaches’ poll, but had been upset by UCLA in the Rose Bowl the previous 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, although the Spartans had history and home-field advantage in their side. This was the very first time in 20 years a college football matchup was awarded the”Game of the Century” tag by the national press, and ABC had the nation’s audiences in its grip, with equal parts Notre Dame lovers and Michigan State fans. It was the very first time in the 30-year history of this 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 brought these two teams together late in the season. When the 1966 schedules were drawn up they were not even supposed to fulfill. Michigan State had only nine matches scheduled (although they had been allowed to have ten) 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 schedule, from 1964 onward. Michigan State was accessible and agreed to come back to Notre Dame’s schedule in 1965–66.
The game was not shown on national TV. Each team was allotted one nationwide television appearance and also two regional television appearances each season. Notre Dame had used their nationwide TV slot at the season opening game against Purdue. ABC executives didn’t want to demonstrate the match anywhere but the regional place, 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 countries (allegedly North Dakota and South Dakota), so it could technically be called a regional broadcast. It would also be the first time that a school football game was broadcast to Hawaii and also 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 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 resides. The second half is present 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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