Michigan State vs Arizona State, 1986

Michigan State vs Arizona State, 1986

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Michigan State vs Arizona State, 1986

The last time Michigan State and Arizona State squared off was 1986.  The Spartans headed west for a prime time matchup that ended with a 20-17 loss to the Sun Devils. It’s more than fun to look back at the broadcast.

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Turner Network Television presents, Super Football Saturday Night.

This was a “Brand Builder” at work, applying a special craft to the building of a brand.

If you’re younger than, say, 40 years old, well, I’m jealous of you.

But you didn’t get to experience fun of things like Turner Network Television presenting Super Football Saturday Night.

Take a causal look at some of what’s in the box down at the bottom of this article you’re reading and see what’s inside of the box.

How about the broadcast open with the highlights featuring Lorenzo White, Dave Yarema, and Mark Ingram (the Alabama Heisman Trophy winner’s father) making things happen on the old, worn-out-looking turf at Spartan Stadium?

How about the graphic packaging and animation elements that make Turner Network Television’s Super Football Saturday Night’s opening sequence extremely fresh and tight and awesome?

I especially like the use of the continental United States as a football field – with the goal posts positioned on either coast and the yard lines going longitudinally from the northern portions of the union downward to the southern portions of the union (or vice versa, depending on your perspective).

Skip Caray – son of Harry Caray – and Archie Griffin form a wonderful broadcast duo, don’t they?

John Cooper’s Sun Devils used this win as a springboard to a huge season that culminated with a Rose Bowl victory over UMAA.

George Perles’s Spartans had a herky jerky 6-5 season (4-4 in the Big Ten) in 1986 but the seeds were being sewn for what would be a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl winning season the following year.

How about Michigan State’s set of skill players?

Dave Yarema was a formidable quarterback – and he was surrounded by some all-timers:

Lorenzo White at running back.

Bobby Morse at fullback who is still getting free drinks anywhere he goes in thanks for the punt return he took to the house at UMAA in 1984 as part of the 19-7 win there that season.

Andre Rison at split end.

Mark Ingram at flanker.

The Turner Network Television Super Football Saturday Night graphic team misspells Tony Mandaraich’s name on the offensive line full-screen graphic page.

There’s center Pat Shurmur’s name misspelled, too, on the same offensive line full-screen graphic page.

It’s fun to hear Skip Caray refer to Andre Rison as “Andre Reasons” on Michigan State’s first possession (well, the first possession that’s covered in the broadcast since the broadcast came on after the game started probably because Turner Network Television had a commitment to broadcasting reruns of “McHale’s Navy” in prime time on Saturday nights during the cable network’s nascent stages).

When the Turner Network Television Super Football Saturday Night producer and director decide to showcase Michigan State head coach George Perles on the sideline, it’s hard not to admire the gut that Perles had formed by this point in his career.

Perles eventually developed a gut that should be honored in the Smithsonian somehow – and on this night in Tempe in 1986, one can see that Perles was working hard on the development process that would one day really pay off.

You’d have to think that the members of this Spartan squad loved playing for a guy who so proudly showcased such a powerful gut.

Back in the later ’80s and early ’90s, some would suggest to others that Perles’s teams were good for at least three 15-yard personal foul penalties a game – and this game shows that the Spartans found ways to get that whole thing going in 1986 by giving the Sun Devils new life on a first quarter missed field goal by roughing the Arizona State kicker after he came up about twenty yards short on the kick.

A few plays later, the Devils found the endzone and that wound up being the difference in the 20-17 loss for Michigan State.

If you’re like me and you’re looking for ways to kill two and a half hours of your day, consider yourself lucky – this beautiful, vintage broadcast was discovered through a magical dream-like portal that someone told me goes by the moniker “YouTube.”

I’m not sure what “YouTube” actually means – but it sort of rolls off the tongue and it allowed me to watch this splendid football game and give me a chance to daydream about what I was doing the night I watched this very game on TV….

This video is a telecast, broadcast, and production of Turner Network Television. I claim no ownership of this material, and do not profit from it in any way. This video is intended for historical and educational viewing purposes.

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