It's not the season the Michigan State Spartans or their fans were hoping for, but now MSU has a chance to head into the off-season on a high note.
Similarly, Oregon usually has one of the most high-powered offenses in the country. This year, though, they're just average. The Ducks' passing game is ranked 43rd in the country with 254 yards per game. They have a guy who some felt was the best pro quarterback prospect in the country, Justin Herbert. He announced last week that instead of going pro, he’ll return to Eugene for his senior season. He threw for 28 touchdowns this year.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge that Oregon brings,” said senior safety Khari Willis at a recent pep rally.
"Looking at Oregon's offense, they're sideways sideways, going to try to pound the ball down the middle but that's what they're capable of doing," said junior defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk.
"They have a really good quarterback, obviously NFL talent, good wide receivers. They can throw it deep. So we're going to be ready for everything that's going to come our way."
The Spartans will counter Hebert with one of the best defenses in the country. Michigan State ranks 14th in scoring defense, giving up just 18 points per game. They’ve only allowed eight rushing touchdowns, which is good enough for second fewest in the country.
And here's more good news for the Spartans: they're finally healthy. Quarterback Brian Lewerke missed three games with a shoulder injury this year, but head coach Mark Dantonio said he’ll start the bowl game. Running back L.J. Scott and receiver Cody White also missed multiple games but they’ll be starting too.
MSU ranks 121st out of 129 FBS teams in scoring at 19.8 points per game and 116th in total offense at 343.0 yards. A large reason for that is because of all the players they lost to injuries.
"We've been excited to come out here in warm weather is nice obviously but just trying to prep and execute and get everything going as a team and get ready for this game," said junior tackle Cole Chewins.
Who: Michigan State Spartans (7-5, 5-4 in Big Ten) vs. Oregon Ducks (8-4, 5-4 in Pac 12)
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
When: Monday, December 31, 2018 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time
Channel: FOX (Highlights to follow on 13 ON YOUR SIDE Late Night at 11)
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