November 19, 1966 - Game of the Century III: Michigan State

Notre Dame Michigan State 1966 ProgramFor the tenth time since the AP Poll started in 1936, the #1 and #2 teams would meet in the regular season. This would also be the fifth such game that Notre Dame was a part of. Notre Dame was ranked #1 and 8-0-0 coming into the game while Michigan State was #2, 9-0-0, and had a 19-game winning streak. Between the two teams there were a combined 25 future All-Americans and 31 future pro players. 754 journalists would pack the press box and 33 million viewers would watch the game on television, both records at the time. At the time the NCAA permitted teams to appear on television only once per season and Notre Dame had exhausted their eligibility by playing the first game of the season against Purdue on television. Luckily, the NCAA reversed their decision and the game would be seen live and on tape delay nationally.

#64 Pete Duranko DE, #56 Dave Martin LB,Ara Parseghian, #90 Joe Azzaro K, John Ray - Notre Dame Michigan StateThere was plenty of national hype for this game that would more decide the national champion. Michigan State could not return to the Rose Bowl a second consecutive year so this would be their last game of the season. Notre Dame still had one game remaining against Southern Cal. On Friday both teams would have a little trouble. Bubba Smith, star Spartan defensive end, was arrested for several traffic violations but would be released after being jailed for an hour. Notre Dame had worse luck with starting halfback Nick Eddy slipping when disembarking the train and injured his shoulder; Eddy would not play in the game.

Neither team would score in the first quarter but starting Irish quarterback Terry Hanratty would separate his shoulder on a miscalled play. Ara had called a HB draw but Hanratty thought the play was a QB draw, Hanratty would get hit hard and left the game. The very next play starting center George Goeddeke would sprain his ankle and also leave the game. Still in the first quarter, Notre Dame lost their starting All-American quaterback, halfback, and center. In the second quarter, Michigan State would notch a touchdown and then a field goal off of a fumble. The Spartans led 10-0, the most points the defense had given up all season. Four plays and 54 yards later, backup quaterback Coley O'Brien put Notre Dame on the board 10-7. The score would remain 10-7 into halftime and through the third quarter.

As the fourth quarter started Notre Dame kicked a field goal and Joe Azzaro tied the game 10-10. An interception by Tom Schoen would bring the Irish to the Michigan State 18. The field goal try would barely miss right and the score remained tied with 4:39 left. Each team would get the ball once more. Michigan State was forced to punt and the Irish started at their own 30 with 1:30 left in the game. The first play came in, a run. The next play came in, a run. Both teams were surprised by the plays Ara signaled in. The Spartans began taunting the Irish players. A pass was called on third down but Bubba Smith sacked O'Brien. With no time outs, Michigan State watched Notre Dame run on the final play as time expired. The Irish left the field to boos.

Ara would go on to say that he could not risk an interception that close to the end zone when a field goal would win it. Plus Michigan State had no more games to play, Notre Dame had one more chance. In reality, Notre Dame was down their star players (#1 QB, #1 C, #1 HB, #2 HB) and backup O'Brien would eat candy bars on the sidelines to keep his blood-sugar levels up.

Full Video Parts: I II III IV V VI VII
             1  2  3  4     
Notre Dame   0  7  0  3 - 10
Michigan St  0 10  0  0 - 10

The following week, still #1 Notre Dame would defeat #10 Southern Cal 51-0 and won their eight national championship. Michigan State's Bubba Smith would go on to play for the NFL and star in several TV shows and movies, including Police Academy (I through VI).

To learn more about the 1966 Michigan State game, pick up a copy of The Game of the Century: The Biggest Game of them All by Mike Celizic.

Keywords: football, michigan state, ara parseghian, tie, one versus two, game of the century, purdue, southern cal, nick eddy, terry hanratty, coley obrien, joe azzaro, tom schoen

Posted On: 2011-11-19 03:15:00 by IrishTrpt07


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