The 1966 Notre Dame vs. Michigan State football match is regarded as one of the most significant and most controversial games in college football history played between Michigan State and Notre Dame. The match was played in Michigan State’s Spartan Stadium on November 19, 1966. Michigan State entered the contest 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. Notre Dame went on to acquire or share the national title in fourteen polls (including the AP and UPI); Michigan State won or shared in three small polls, and Alabama, who finished with all the only undefeated and untied album, won two minor 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 had finished the 1965 season No. 1 at the UPI Coaches’ survey, but was upset by UCLA at the Rose Bowl the previous year, entered the match ranked No. 2 in the polls. The Fighting Irish, whose bid for a national championship two years earlier was snuffed out by USC, were hungry, while the Spartans had history and home-field advantage in their side. This was the first time in 20 years a school football matchup was given the”Game of the Century” tag by the national media, and ABC had the country’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 the AP poll the No. 1 group played with 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 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 (even though they had been allowed to have ten) while Notre Dame was originally scheduled to play with Iowa that week, as had been the custom since 1945. But in 1960, the Hawkeyes suddenly dropped the Irish from their program, from 1964 onward. Michigan State was available and agreed to come back to Notre Dame’s schedule in 1965–66.
The match was not shown on nationwide TV. Each team has been allotted one nationwide 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 even want to demonstrate 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 match in two states (reportedly North Dakota and South Dakota), therefore it might technically 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. [5] The official attendance was declared at 80,011 (111% potential ) and has been 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 ABC telecast footage survives. 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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