Leprechaun vs. Sparty: A century later
Before the Spartans ever waged war with the Michigan Wolverines, there was Notre Dame.
Despite the close proximity to Ann Arbor and the inevitable in-state rivalry between the two schools, the Spartans wouldn’t meet the Wolverines on the gridiron until 1898.
Instead, it was Notre Dame who played the Spartans first, just one year earlier in 1897.
And have there been some breathtaking moments in the rivalry.
From the fourth quarter collapse to “Little Giants,” Notre Dame has been the frustrating victor to the Spartans’ scapegoat over the years.
Ever since head coach Mark Dantonio took the helm after the 2006 season, the Spartans are an even 4-4 against the Fighting Irish.
Interestingly, between the two teams, the first 11 times they have faced off, the winning team won in a shutout. MSU, then the Michigan Agricultural College, won its only game in 1910, in a 17-0 decision.
The Spartans and Fighting Irish don’t play every year, as Notre Dame’s status as an independent getting in the way of that. However, the two have met a total of 78 times since the first meeting, matchup No. 79 is next.
That next matchup is Sept. 23, after MSU’s bye week. For a rivalry over 100 years strong, there have been some undoubtful key moments during it. Here are just a few of the key highlights.