Here is your game thread (comment below), and since I simply didn’t have the time for a full game preview, here is a mini preview:
While this is certainly not the bowl game the Spartans aspired to be in at the beginning of the season, this is an intriguing matchup against a quality opponent. This is a seemingly a game of high-powered offense versus dominating defense.
The all-time series history between these two schools is tied at three wins a piece. The programs last met at Spartan Stadium in 2015, with Michigan State earning a 31-28 win. Oregon and MSU are scheduled to play another home-and-home series way in the future in 2029 and 2030.
For this year’s matchup, the Spartans come in as the No. 1 rushing defense in the nation, No. 14 total defense and the No. 64 passing defense (though, the passing defense was much improved in the last quarter of the season). MSU also ranks No. 2 in defensive S&P+ Rankings, only behind Clemson. But as we all know, it’s been the struggles on offense that has ailed the Spartans. Michigan State ranks an abysmal 114th in offensive S&P+ Rankings, and 116th in total offense, 74th in passing offense and 115th in rushing offense in the NCAA.
Meanwhile, Oregon is 31st in total offense, 43rd in passing offense and 48th in rushing offense in the country. The Ducks come in at No. 23 in offensive S&P+ Rankings. Defensively, Oregon comes in ranked No. 62 in total defense, No. 94 against the pass and No. 44 against the run. Oregon ranks No. 69 in defensive S&P+ Rankings.
Looking at overall S&P+ Rankings, Oregon is ranked 47th, while Michigan State comes in at No. 35.
Key matchups to watch include Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert against Michigan State’s secondary without Justin Layne. Another interesting matchup to watch is Michigan State’s awful passing offense against Oregon’s lower tier passing defense. Has Brian Lewerke had enough time to heal from his shoulder injury, and can he take advantage of a suspect passing defense? We shall see.
Overall, I am feeling good about this one for some reason. The Michigan State defense should keep Oregon’s high-flying offense on the ground for the most part, but if MSU cannot put points up on the board — as has been the case all year — then we could be in for a long day. But, the MSU players have had a lot of time to allow their lingering injuries to heal, so let’s hope the offense is healthy and ready to play.