Sports Illustrated call the close-knit team "a soul-brother backfield - three Negroes and a Hawaiian". Eight of the eleven defensive starters on that two-time national title team were African American.
Five Spartans earned two-time All-American honors. Bubba Smith, Gene Washington, Clint Jones, George Webster and Bob Apisa. Four of them were selected in the top 8 picks of the NFL draft.
All-American fullback Bob Apisa has rendered hours of unseen film from the Daughertys vault. Apisa tells a story of the team that not only changed the game of college football, but helped a nation heal its race wounds and move forward to equal rights for all.
MSU Spartans stood undefeated for two regular seasons, played in one dramatic Rose Bowl game and another titanic "Game of the Century" clash, and shows the world that racial integration not only makes a program stronger, but that it's clearly the right thing to do.
Duffy's down-home charm and abundant football connections help the Spartan program build a strong pipeline of prospects from Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana, Virginia and North Carolina. Alerting him to potential prospects that are forbidden to recruit into their programs because of color of their skin.
"We embraced our differences and considered ourselves a team of equals. We came to play football for Michigan State, but ended up playing the game that changed the century!"
This is a story about how one extraordinary football team - built by a fearless head coach and backed by a forward-thinking administration - achieves historical greatness that not only transforms the sport of college football, but propels an entire nation toward a better understanding and acceptance of racial equality.
America in the 1960s is embroiled in a war of social and racial issues that are fueled by fear, hatred and ignorance. Some states hold onto the post-slavery, yet highly discriminatory, Jim Crowe laws, while the rest of the nation is just beginning to accept the idea that blacks and whites may be able to work and live side-by-side.
The nation's attitude toward integration was changing rapidly, causing confusion, anger and frustration across all races. By bravely breaking away from outdated and discriminating traditions that were holdovers from the day of southern slavery, Duffy Daugherty's Michigan State University football team battles to achieve historical greatness: Back-to-back undefeated seasons and two national football championships. At the climax of this two-year domination, the Spartans collide with Notre Dame in an epic battle that earns the title "The Game of the Century." This clash of cultures - old vs. new - is so highly anticipated that it launches the first-ever, live telecast of a sports event across the Pacific.
Told through the eyes of the All-American fullback, Bob Apisa on that historic Michigan State University football team, Men of Sparta is the story of the team that not only changed the game of college football, but helped a nation heal its race wounds and move forward toward equal rights for all.
Hugh Duffy Daugherty was an American football player and coach. He served as the head coach at Michigan State University from 1954 to 1972, where he compiled a career record of 109–69–5. Duffy's 1965 and 1966 teams won national championships.
Raye started for the 1966 Spartans in the famous 10-10 tie with Notre Dame, a game often referred to as "The Game of the Century." Raye was the South's first black quarterback to win a national title.
Apisa was a two time All-American and the first Samoan to be selected 1st team All-American. Also voted as the 9th best running back of the past 50 years by Michigan State fans, and the only Fullback on that list.
A three-year letterman from 1964-66, Jones accounted for 2,549 career all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns. Jones led the team in rushing and all-purpose yards in his final two seasons while helping the Spartans to a combined record of 19-1-1.
Smith was awarded with All-America honors in 1965 and 1966. Smith was the first overall selection in the 1967 NFL draft. Fans would chant "Kill, Bubba, Kill."
A three-year starter from 1964-66. A two-time First-Team All-American and First-Team All-Big Ten selection (1965-66), Washington led team in receptions for three-straight seasons.
Webster played from 1964 to 1966. He played roverback, a position created by head coach Duffy as a combination of safety and linebacker who could run with wide receivers but be strong enough to take on any running back.
Kenney kicked a field goal in the "Game of the Century" that ended in a 10-10 tie. Newspaper accounts of the game said the Fighting Irish played conservatively at the end, fearing another field goal by Kenney.
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Men of Sparta c/o Spartan Go, LLC
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