The 1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football match is regarded as 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 contest 9–0 and 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 last series. Notre Dame went on to acquire or share the national title in fourteen polls (including the AP and UPI); Michigan State shared or won in three small polls, and Alabama, who ended with all the only undefeated and untied record, won two small 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’d finished the 1965 year No. 1 at the UPI Coaches’ poll, but was upset by UCLA at the Rose Bowl the past year, entered the match 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 very first time in 20 years that a college football matchup was awarded the”Game of the Century” tag by the national media, and ABC had the country’s audiences in its clasp, with equal parts 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 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 meet when the 1966 schedules were drawn up. Michigan State had only nine matches scheduled (although they had been 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 schedule, from 1964 onward. Michigan State was available and agreed to return to Notre Dame’s schedule in 1965–66.
The match wasn’t shown on national TV. Each team has been allotted one nationwide television appearance and two regional television appearances each season. Notre Dame had utilized their national TV slot at the season opening game against Purdue. ABC executives didn’t even want to show 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 out the Michigan State-Notre Dame game in just two states (allegedly North Dakota and South Dakota), therefore it might theoretically be called a regional broadcast. It would also be the first time that a college football game was broadcast to Hawaii and to U.S. troops in Vietnam.  The official attendance was declared at 80,011 (111% potential ) and has been the most attended match 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 drives starting in the next quarter (Michigan State’s field goal and Notre Dame’s touchdown).
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