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 match 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 to not try to find a score on the series; thus, the match finished in a 10–10 tie. Notre Dame went on to acquire or share the national title in two polls (such as the AP and UPI); Michigan State shared or won in three minor polls, and Alabama, who finished with all the only undefeated and untied record, won 2 minor polls.
Notre Dame, which had last 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 year No. 1 in the UPI Coaches’ poll, but was upset by UCLA in the Rose Bowl the previous 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 on 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 press, and ABC had the country’s viewers in its grip, with equal parts Notre Dame lovers and Michigan State fans. It was the tenth time at the 30-year history of this AP poll that 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 brought 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 (even though they had been permitted to possess eight ) while Notre Dame was originally scheduled to play with Iowa that week, as had been the custom since 1945. But in 1960, the Hawkeyes abruptly dropped the Irish out of 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 group has been allotted one nationwide television appearance and also 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 want to show the match everywhere but the regional area, but pressure from the West Coast and the South (to the tune of 50,000 letters) made ABC atmosphere the game on tape delay. ABC relented and blacked out the Michigan State-Notre Dame match in two countries (reportedly 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 to U.S. troops in Vietnam.  The official attendance was announced 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 college legends.
Much of the first 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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