The 2006 Michigan State/Notre Dame game ended with MSU melting down and blowing a 16 point 4th quarter lead at home due to some of the most inconceivable coaching decisions I’ve ever seen. While that meltdown was bad, it was nothing compared to what radio host Mike Valenti of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit had. In this 15 minute rant, among some of the numerous highlights, he yells his voice hoarse, says Michigan State’s defense would be better off coached by H.R. Pufnstuf and Teddy Ruxpin and this is all the while bemoaning MSU running the option in “Hurricane Katrina.” Valenti’s voice didn’t last and he had to go home early that day and would miss the next couple days of work. Here’s his rant in its entirety.
I was a student at Michigan State at this time and was at this game. Suffice to say, I know a few things about soul-crushing losses… but this one might be the worst. It was the 40th anniversary of the “Game of the Century,” and they retired Bubba Smith’s number before the game. MSU was controlling the game handily for three quarters when all of a sudden then MSU coach, John L. Smith, decided 5-wide and the option was the best way to run out the clock in an absolute monsoon. Ehh, didn’t work so much, and ND scored 19 straight points in the 4th quarter to win 40-37.
I did go to the MSU/ND game in 2007 at Notre Dame where MSU won by a substantial margin. After the game, my group did run into Mike Valenti outside the stadium… at that moment, he might have been the happiest person I’ve ever seen in my life.
The MSU/ND rivalry is one of the most underrated rivalries in college football. Just in recent years we’ve had flagplants, alleged coach slappings, Golden Tate’s celebration, laptop-gate, alleged sign stealing and “little giants.” Michigan State and Notre Dame play tomorrow at 3:30 on NBC.