Michigan State vs Oregon: Game preview with prediction


College GameDay’s game of the week happens to be Michigan State vs Oregon and the Spartans need to be ready to play in front of millions of eyes.

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Last week’s contest was a bit of a trap game as all offseason, the talk was about playing Oregon in week two and many players were likely banking on an easy victory over Western Michigan in week one.

However, the Spartans came out on top and took down the Broncos after controlling the whole game, 37-24. The final score was much closer than the contest actually was as MSU was up 34-10 at one point early in the third quarter.

Michigan State will need to have a much better complete showing against the offensively-gifted Oregon Ducks on Saturday evening.

Let’s take a look at who holds the advantage in each aspect of the game and who will win on Saturday night in East Lansing.


Sep 5, 2015; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. (3) throws the ball in the second quarter against the Eastern Washington Eagles at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

As much as it pains me to say this after watching MSU’s offense put up its best numbers in school history a season ago, the Ducks seemingly have the upper hand here.

Connor Cook struggled mightily in week one, but that could have something to do with getting on the same page with his new wide receiver targets. He will need to be much more accurate this week if he wants to lead the Spartans to victory, and I see that happening.

Vernon Adams also played well in week one, passing for over 200 yards and a couple scores while using his legs to escape a closing pocket and making things happen on the ground. He’s an electric quarterback with the skills to be great.

As for the run game, Michigan State has three first-year contributors to rely on while junior Delton Williams is looking more like a redshirt possibility every day. L.J. Scott may be more talented than any back in this game, but Madre London is the most reliable — as of right now.

Royce Freeman, Kani Benoit and Tony Brooks-James are all talented underclassmen and are a few steps ahead of the Spartans’ running back crew. They combined for 326 rushing yards and six touchdowns.

Advantage: Oregon


Sep 4, 2015; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; Western Michigan Broncos wide receiver Daniel Braverman (8) is tacked by Michigan State Spartans safety Rj Williamson (26) during the 1st half of a game at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Simply put, both defenses struggled against lesser opponents in week one. Sure, both teams played very solid offenses that happen to reside in smaller conferences, but the Spartans and Ducks looked vulnerable enough that more powerful teams would rip right through their defenses.

Michigan State, however, has a stronger front-seven and a secondary with the potential to be great and bring back the vaunted ‘No Fly Zone.’

However, both teams will be targeting each other’s secondaries as both are struggling with a lack of confidence after poor showings last week.

The Spartans allowed 365 passing yards to the MAC’s top quarterback in Zach Terrell while the Ducks surrendered 438 total passing yards to two different QBs. Michigan State allowed two touchdowns through the air and the Ducks allowed five while both finished with two picks.

The run defense may be a different story as the Freshman All-American Jarvion Franklin was held in check against MSU, finishing with just 23 yards while the entire Broncos’ offense had just 18 total rushing yards. Oregon allowed 111 yards on the ground.

Advantage: Michigan State

Head Coach

Mark Helfrich took over for Chip Kelly a couple of years ago and has kept the Ducks in the national conversation while recruiting some of the most electric players in the nation.

Mark Dantonio has brought MSU from Big Ten bottom-dweller and laughing stock in the John L. Smith era to national powerhouse and one of the conference’s top teams every year.

Both the Ducks and the Spartans are elite, but Dantonio has done much more with less in his time at Michigan State and he’s just getting started.

Advantage: Michigan State


The game will go back and forth early on as the Spartans’ secondary will struggle to really get a finger on what Vernon Adams’ tendencies are, but once the front-four put some pressure on the first-year Oregon quarterback, it will be game over.

Connor Cook will rebound in this one and show the nation just why he’s considered the Big Ten’s best quarterback and even the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy. He will exploit the Ducks’ mediocre secondary and put week one’s 15-for-31 performance behind him.

Oregon 27, Michigan State 38

Next: MSU Recruiting: Who'll be at the Oregon game?