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Instant Reactions: No. 7 Michigan State @ No. 3 Oregon

Spartans' defense doesn't answer bell in 46-27 loss to third-ranked Oregon.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Conventional wisdom would have led most people to believe that Michigan State's defense would give it a chance to win at Oregon.

While forcing Marcus Mariota and the Ducks' offense to five three-and-outs with the game still in the balance Saturday night, the defense didn't answer the bell for the most part in the seventh-ranked Spartans' 46-27 loss to No. 3 Oregon.

Pat Narduzzi's defense failed to force Mariota and crew into committing one turnover and its tackling left a lot to be desired.

With the Spartans up 27-18 in the third quarter and on the verge of forcing Mariota into another three -and-out, the Heisman candidate eluded the grasp of linebacker Darien Harris before eventually leading the Ducks on a scoring drive to cut their deficit to 27-25 after finding Devon Allen for a 23-yard score with 4:33 left in the third.

Junior QB Connor Cook rebounded from an early interception, which led to a Oregon TD, to help lead the Spartans' offense to score 20 unanswered points to turn a 18-7 deficit into a 27-18 lead at one point.

Tony Lippett eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark for the second straight week, while Cook found both Lippett and Josiah Price for TDs.

Cook threw for 343 yards while Jeremy Langford ran for 86 yards and a score as the Spartans' offense was only outgained 491-466 in total yardage by the Ducks.

Despite Cook's two interceptions, it was the defense that couldn't derail Mariota and the Oregon offense enough to try and give the Spartans an opportunity to pull off the upset at Autzen Stadium.

Elsewhere, Michael Geiger nailed a pair of field field goals after his one misfire against Jacksonville State last week.

Going forward, Michigan State has next week off before hosting Eastern Michigan on Sept. 20.

Challenging itself with a top-three foe in just the second week of the season, Its goal of repeating as Big Ten champions still remains in reach, with Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio State coming to Spartan Stadium later this fall.

Perhaps there's no shame in losing by 19 points at Oregon. But a night that the Spartans' program hadn't experienced since 1966 could have been a lot more worthwhile.