Michigan State vs Oregon: 5 players who need to step up

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Sep 4, 2015; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio talks to quarterback Connor Cook (18) during the 2nd half of a game at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

1. Connor Cook

Connor Cook is undoubtedly the most important player on the Michigan State roster when Saturday rolls around and those players step on the field.

As has been discussed at length, Cook is a Heisman Trophy contender and a potential first-round pick in upcoming NFL Draft and he must play to all of this potential on against Oregon if the Spartans have a chance to win.

Related: MSU Football: 5 bold predictions for the month of September

Unlike in years past, it’s going to be the offense that wins Michigan State football games, not the defense. Especially against a high-octane offense like Oregon’s, the Spartans’ offense is going to have to keep pace and it’s too much to ask of the defense to continuously get stops and win the game — and that starts with Cook.

In the week one matchup, Connor had signs of the level of play he could bring to the table, but then there were inconsistencies as well. Cook provided an average performance for the talent that he has. He missed high on several plays, and never seemed to truly get himself or the offense into a rhythm.

Coming out in the second half, MSU scored on it’s very first drive and then not again until a field goal at the end of the game.

Against Oregon this cannot happen, it will put the defense on the field entirely to much and Michigan State will fall behind just as it did in the matchup last year.

Connor Cook must come out and have the best game of his career, on national television with the entire GameDay crew/viewership watching in order for Michigan State to win.

Next: MSU Football: 'Next man up' at every position