|1961 Michigan State Spartans football|
|Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|1961 record||7–2 (5–2 Big Ten)|
|Home stadium||Spartan Stadium |
|1961 Big Ten Conference football standings|
|No. 2 Ohio State $||6||–||0||–||0||8||–||0||–||1|
|No. 6 Minnesota||6||–||1||–||0||8||–||2||–||0|
|No. 8 Michigan State||5||–||2||–||0||7||–||2||–||0|
|No. 12 Purdue||4||–||2||–||0||6||–||3||–||0|
Rankings from AP Poll
The 1961 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State University in the 1961 Big Ten Conference football season. In their eighth season under head coach Duffy Daugherty, the Spartans compiled a 7–2 overall record (5–2 against Big Ten opponents), finished in third place in the Big Ten Conference, and were ranked #8 in the final AP Poll.
Two Spartans were selected as first-team players on the 1961 All-Big Ten Conference football team. Halfback George Saimes received first-team honors from the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI), and tackle Dave Behrman received first-team honors from the AP. Halfback Sherman Lewis received second-team all-conference honors from the AP. Dave Behrman also received first-team recognition from the AP and Football Writers Association of America on the 1961 College Football All-America Team.
The 1961 Spartans won all three of their annual rivalry games. In the annual Indiana–Michigan State football rivalry game, the Spartans defeated the Hoosiers by a 35 to 0 score. In the Notre Dame rivalry game, the Spartans defeated the Fighting Irish by a 17 to 7 score. And, in the annual Michigan–Michigan State football rivalry game, the Spartans defeated the Wolverines by a 28 to 0 score. In non-conference play, the Spartans also defeated Stanford, 31-3.
|September 30||at Wisconsin||No. 10||W 20–0|
|October 7||Stanford*||No. 6||W 31–3|
|October 14||at No. 6 Michigan||No. 5||W 28–0|
|October 21||No. 6 Notre Dame*||No. 1||W 17–7|
|October 28||Indiana||No. 1||W 35–0|
|November 4||at Minnesota||No. 1||L 0–13|
|November 11||at Purdue||No. 6||L 6–7|
|November 18||Northwestern||No. 9||W 21–13|
|November 25||Illinois||No. 8||W 34–7|
- FB George Saimes, Jr.
- "2016 Football Media Guide" (PDF). Michigan State University. pp. 146, 155. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
- "1961 Michigan State Spartans Schedule and Results". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
- "Stephens Unanimous Choice on Big Ten". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 28, 1961.
- "Saimes and MacRae Selected on All-Big Ten Football Team". The Holland, Michigan, Evening Sentinel. November 29, 1961. p. 16.
- "Big Line Tops Classy AP All-America Team". AP.
- "Miami's Bill Miller Chosen As All-American". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. December 8, 1961. p. 36.
- Ted Gangi (ed.). "FWAA All-America Since 1944: The All-Time Team" (PDF). Retrieved February 8, 2015.
- "Michigan State Yearly Results (1960-1964)". College Football Data Warehouse. David DeLassus. Retrieved July 12, 2015.