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What I Love, Vol. 4: The 1966 Notre Dame-Michigan State Game

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I love that, almost 45 years after the fact, people who had or would have had no rooting interest in this game whatsoever are still mad at Ara Parseghian for settling for the tie.

I love that Dan Jenkins wrote about it.

Forget everything that came before, all of that ferocious thudding in the line that was mostly responsible for five fumbles, four interceptions, 25 other incompletions, a total of 20 rushing plays that either lost yardage or gained none, and forget the few good plays—the big passes. Put the No. 1 team, Notre Dame, on its own 30-yard line with time for at least four passing plays to break the tie. A No. 1 team will try something, won't it, to stay that way?

Notre Dame did not. It just let the air out of the ball. For reasons that it will rationalize as being more valid than they perhaps were under the immense circumstances, the Irish rode out the clock (see cover). Even as the Michigan State defenders taunted them and called the time-outs that the Irish should have been calling. Notre Dame ran into the line, the place where the big game was hopelessly played all afternoon. No one really expected a verdict in that last desperate moment. But they wanted someone to try. When the Irish ran into the line, the Spartans considered it a minor surrender.

I love that, honestly, I also would have probably played for the tie*.

I love that so much of this damn game is on YouTube. And for that matter, I just love what YouTube has done for both preserving and promoting this sport's history.

Clip No. 1
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Clip No. 7

 

 

* Sorry, but it's true.  I'm all for going for the win in the "down seven, score in the last minute, go for two and the win" scenario, but this was a very low-odds situation for Parseghian and Notre Dame, and playing it safe was probably the smart thing to do.  Not the BRAVE thing to do, but the smart one.  And I try to make smart decisions every now and then.  And the smart decisions I do make usually get me made fun of in some way.