2013 : 500th Game at Spartan Stadium

October 12, 2021 all-day

The Saturday, October 12th game between Indiana University and Michigan State University will be the 500th game played at Spartan Stadium, which opened in 1923 as Macklin Field.

Some epic games played in Spartan Stadium :

1923 – Several years of construction led to the opening of the 14,000 seat College Field, which put Michigan Agricultural College on the college sports map. Under head coach Ralph Young, the Aggies, the team’s nickname prior to changing to Spartans in 1926, defeated Lake Forest 21-6 in the inaugural game. (October 6, 1923)

1953 – After years of being kept out of the Big Ten by rival Michigan, the Spartans get the sweetest revenge in their first year in the conference by defeating the Wolverines 14-6 to advance to the Rose Bowl in their first chance. (November 14, 1953)

1963 – In a game postponed to Thanksgiving Day because of John F. Kennedy’s assasination five days earlier, the Spartans lost 13-0 to the Illini led by linebacker Dick Butkus. (November 28, 1963)

1966 – What’s now called “Game of Century” ended with No. 2 MSU and top-ranked Notre Dame tied at 10 (November 19, 1966)

1968 – Coach Duffy tells the media the night before he might start the game with an onside kick if he won the toss — and it happened. MSU recovered and scored a touchdown and never looked back, winning 21-17 over the heavily favored top-ranked Irish. Great goal line stand to end the game and preserve the victory.

1974 – Unranked MSU ruins top-ranked Ohio State’s national title hopes with 16-13 win. The game wasn’t decided until 45 minutes after it ended because Big Ten Commissioner Wayne Duke had to make a final ruling on an Ohio State touchdown or penalty in front of the tunnel. Levi Jackson’s late 88 yard run turned out to be the winner (November 9, 1974)

1986 – Dave Yarema was intercepted in the end zone in the final seconds to end MSU’s bid for an upset in a 24-21 loss to No. 11 Iowa (October 4, 1986)

1987 – In first night game at Spartan Stadium on Labor Day, MSU upsets No. 19 USC 27-13 (September 1, 1987)

1987 – MSU drubs Indiana 27-3, punching its first ticket to Pasadena in more than two decades. (November 14, 1987)

1990 – In a game that featured Spartan Stadium’s largest crowd, MSU falls to top-ranked Notre Dame 20-19

1999 – Burke bests Brady 34-31 in a classic matchup of unbeatens and 10-2 teams, proving there’s more than one team in the State of Michigan. (October 9, 1999)

2001 – Jeff Smoker connects with T.J. Duckett on final play to lift MSU to a 26-24 win over Michigan in a game known as “Clockgate” (November 3, 2001)

2006 – Against Notre Dame, MSU blows 16-point lead in loss. John L. Smith slaps himself in press conference after loss

2009 Michigan rallied late to force overtime in the final seconds, but freshman Larry Caper’s touchdown run in overtime lifted the Spartans to the win. (October 3, 2009)

2010 – Using “Little Giants” trick play, MSU posts 34-31 win over Notre Dame in overtime (September 18, 2010)

2011 – On a play called Rocket, Keith Nichol catches 44-yard Hail Mary to help Spartans upset Wisconsin, 37-31 (October 22, 2011)

For the full article, see Joe Rexrode, “Kristen Dantonio to dad Mark: Don’t forget that trick play; MSU’s coach responds with fist bump after ‘Hey Diddle Diddle'”, Lansing State Journal, October 8, 2013.

So what was the Hey Diddle Diddle play?   A win at Nebraska:  Nov. 16, 2013: No. 14 MSU 41, Nebraska 28.  This game is now known for one play – Hey Diddle Diddle, Mike Sadler up the middle.  But gimmick play and catchy name aside, this game was a monstrous victory for the Spartans. The tenth game of the 2013 Rose Bowl season was a daunting one as the Spartans never walked into Lincoln and flew out with a win. Well, until this day, of course.   With Sadler as the holder, Michael Geiger was lined up for a 45-yard field goal on 4th-and-1 with the Spartans holding a 27-21 lead with 10:24 left in the game. As the ball was snapped, Geiger turned into a lead blocker for Sadler as he powered through for a STATEMENT three-yard run. What happened three plays later? A 27-yard touchdown pass to Keith Mumphery to build the lead to 34-21.

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