Wednesday, September 20, 2006

1966 Michigan State-Notre Dame revisited


When Michigan State and Notre Dame meet on Saturday night in Spartan Stadium in front of a national television audience, both teams will be honoring the teams who played in one of the greatest games of all time - the 1966 10-10 tie between No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Michigan State.

The game ended in a tie because of the strategy employed by Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian which is still debated today.

After being down to the Big Ten Champion Spartans 10-0 in the first half, Notre Dame came back to tie the game in the second half.

Then with 1:10 left in the game and possessing the ball on the Michigan State 30-yard line, Parseghian elected to run out the clock and settle for the tie instead of trying to work down the field for a game winning touchdown or field goal.


Should Parseghian have tried for the win? Or was he playing not to lose the game and therefore the national title? Would it have mattered?

Instead, the game ended in a draw, and after defeating USC the following week, Notre Dame was voted the National Champion by the media while Michigan State (also undefeated with a tie) finished #2. (The Spartans have also been recognized as 1966 National Champions according to the NCAA)


This game has been and will always be discussed in the lore of college football and the Michigan State-Notre Dame rivalry. Another reason it's great to be a Spartan.

6 comments:

Cowboy said...

Can you imagine the criticism Parseghian would endure if he chose to run out the clock at the Spartans'30 today? Despite winning the National Championship,there'd be calls for his job(remember,there
were no ESPN or sports talk radio in '66.)

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