#7 Oregon (1-0) at #5 Michigan State (1-0)
When: Saturday, September 12th, 2015
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Time: 8:00 ET
A pair of top ten teams square off tonight in East Lansing, Michigan as the Spartans host the Ducks. Oregon will come in as the underdog this year after defeating Michigan State at home last year 46-27. The Ducks fell behind in that game 27-18, but scored the final 28 points and outgained the Spartans 289-137 during that span. Marcus Mariota led Oregon that day and eventually to the National Title game, but he’s gone now. Replacing him is Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams. He completed 76% of his passes for 246 and 2 touchdowns in a win against his former team last week. The Ducks won that shootout 61-42. Oregon leads the nation in totals yards with 731 and rushing yards with 485 in just one game. Adams also ran for 94 yards, but the rushing attack was led by Royce Freeman who had 180 yards on 21 carries and 3 touchdowns. This is a talented squad again this year who are not afraid to play in a big road game like tonight.
Michigan State comes off an 11-2 season in which they beat Baylor in the Cotton Bowl 42-41. Their only two loses came against Ohio State and Oregon, last year’s National Title game participants. Senior QB Connor Cook leads the way again this year along with 13 other returning starters. Cook wasn’t spectacular last week in the Spartans’ 37-24 win at Western Michigan. He was 15-for-31 for 256 yards and 2 touchdowns. Last year he completed just 59% of his passes, but threw 24 touchdowns to only 8 interceptions. Freshman running back LJ Scott led the team in rushing with 77 yards on 13 carries. The Spartans held Western Michigan to only 18 yards rushing. They’ll be tested tonight. Michigan State is actually 6-1 against the spread the last two years as a home favorite, a spot they find themselves in tonight against Oregon.
This will be Adams’ first big road game and a real test. If Michigan State can slow down the Ducks’ run game, they’ll win this game. I believe they can. Oregon’s defense was very shaky last week and I think Cook can exploit that. I’ll take a small play on the Spartans tonight.
Pick: Michigan State -3.5