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 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 on the final series the game finished at a 10–10 tie. Notre Dame went on to win or share the national title in two polls (such as the AP and UPI); Michigan State shared or won in three small polls, and Alabama, who finished with the only undefeated and untied album, won two small polls.
Notre Dame, which had won a national championship in 1964 (non consensus), rated No. 1 both the AP and Coaches’ polls. Defending National Champion Michigan State, who’d finished the 1965 season No. 1 at the UPI Coaches’ poll, but had been upset by UCLA at the Rose Bowl the past year, entered the game ranked No. 2 in the polls. The Fighting Irish, whose bid for a national championship two years before had been snuffed out by USC, were hungry, although the Spartans had background and home-field edge on their side. This was the very first time in 20 years a college football matchup was awarded the”Game of the Century” label by the national press, and ABC had the nation’s audiences in its grip, with equal portions Notre Dame lovers and Michigan State fans. This was the tenth time in 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 previous 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 weren’t even supposed to meet. Michigan State had only nine matches scheduled (although they had been permitted to have ten) while Notre Dame was initially scheduled to play Iowa that week, as had been the custom since 1945. But 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 match was not shown live on TV. Each team was allotted one national television appearance and also two regional television appearances every year. Notre Dame had used their national TV slot in the season opening game against Purdue. ABC executives did not want to show the match everywhere but the regional place, but pressure in 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 countries (allegedly North Dakota and South Dakota), so it could theoretically 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. [5] The official attendance was declared at 80,011 (111% capacity) and has been the most attended match 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 school legends.
Much of the first ABC telecast footage survives. 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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