MSU, Notre Dame Celebrate 40th Anniversary of 1966 Game of the Century
Sept. 18, 2006
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Saturday's Michigan State-Notre Dame football game marks the 70th meeting between the schools. It also marks the 40th anniversary of the 1966 "Game of the Century" between the second-ranked Spartans and top-ranked Irish that ended in a 10-10 tie.
To mark the 40th anniversary of the 1966 "Game of the Century":
On Friday, MSU's Athletics Development Office will entertain members of the 1966 football team and their families during a private reception in the LaSalle Bank Club in Spartan Stadium.
Approximately 45 former players and coaches from the 1966 team are expected to return to campus this weekend. Five All-Americans from the 1966 team are scheduled to participate in the reunion activities: fullback Bob Apisa, halfback Clinton Jones, defensive end Charles "Bubba" Smith, wide receiver Gene Washington and rover George Webster. Other headliners returning include offensive guard Tony Conti, quarterback Jimmy Raye, linebacker Charlie Thornhill and offensive tackle Jerry West.
Saturday's edition of the Spartan Sports Zone game program will be packaged with a reprinted copy of the 1966 game program. The set of game programs will be available for $10.
Throughout pre-game warmups, the scoreboard will display the final score from the 1966 game.
Members of Michigan State's 1966 football team will be introduced during a pre-game ceremony. Following the ceremony, the 1966 team will form a human tunnel for the current players to run through as they take the field.
Two-time All-American Charles "Bubba" Smith will become just the third player in Michigan State football history to have his jersey number (No. 95) retired, joining Don Coleman (No. 78, 1949-51) and George Webster (No. 90, 1964-66). A fourth jersey number (No. 46) was retired in honor of former MSU President John Hannah.
Smith, who was selected Lineman of the Year by United Press International in 1966, will be presented with a framed copy of his jersey during a special pre-game ceremony. The No. 95 officially will be taken out of circulation following the 2008 season, when sophomore defensive end Justin Kershaw completes his eligibility.
Despite being regularly double- or triple-teamed or having opponent's run away from his side of the field, Smith still produced 10 tackles for losses in 1966 while helping the Spartans to a 9-0-1 record. Michigan State ranked third in the NCAA in rushing defense in 1966, allowing just 51.4 yards per game.
Smith became the first selection overall in the 1967 National Football League Draft by the Baltimore Colts. In 1988, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. In June 2006, Smith was rated among the Top 10 Greatest Defensive Players of All-Time, according to lists compiled by CollegeFootballNews.com's Pete Fiutak (No. 6) and Richard Cirminiello (No. 8).
Clinton Jones, George Webster, Bubba Smith and Don Coleman have been selected as honorary captains for Saturday's game and will accompany the 2006 team captains to midfield for the pre-game coin toss.
Both teams will wear 1966 "Game of the Century" commemorative patches on the front of the game jerseys.
Michigan State will wear throwback (Spartan) decals on its helmet to replicate the look of the team's 1966 helmet. In addition to changing the side decals, a single white stripe will be added down the center of the helmet. The player's jersey number will appear on the back of the helmet, with the white stripe dividing the double-digit numbers.
ABC will televise Saturday's MSU-Notre Dame game with kickoff set for 8:13 p.m. EDT.
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