Michigan State vs Oregon: What worked and what didn’t against the Ducks

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Sep 12, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook (18) looks over offensive line during the 1st half of a game against the Oregon Ducks at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive line

The Spartan offensive line took a major hit when right tackle Kodi Kieler went down with a knee injury in the first quarter.

Must Read: MSU Football: 5 bold predictions for the 2015 season

Backup linemen Miguel Machado and Benny McGowan played sparingly during the Western game, but both stepped up and held down the fort in this high-profile game. The offensive line hardly missed a beat, especially on pass protection.

What went well: Keeping Cook clean

After the previous game, one had to wonder if the offensive line’s dominant pass protection game was partly due to an over-matched opponent. However, the line was just as dominant in the second game against the No. 7 ranked team in the country.

They allowed zero sacks once again and, moreover, kept Cook upright for most of the game. Cook had clean pockets and passing windows from which to throw throughout the night.

What didn’t: Icing the game

It may be harsh to put this on the offensive line — you could put it on the running backs or on Connor Cook or on the play-calling by the coaches — but when MSU has been its most successful it has been able to run the ball at the end of the game even when everyone in the stadium knew they were running the ball.

Jeremy Langford made a living on 25 yard runs to seal the game during the magical 2013 season. The offensive line had two opportunities to show its dominance and ice the game away. Both times the Spartans went three and out.

During those times when MSU has a lead and just needs to run out the clock, you want your line giving the running back a two-yard push off the line and letting him crash through for four yards. MSU will likely need this at least a couple of times this year.

Next: Defensive line