The No.7 Oregon Ducks take on the No.5 Michigan State Spartans in the first top 10 match up of the college football season. The Ducks defeated the Spartans 46-27, in a classic battle last season. However, there are quite a few new cast of characters on each team. The most famous player missing from last year is Oregon’s Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. However, his replacement maybe a better fit for the Ducks’ offense.
When Vernon Adams made his decision to transfer to the Oregon Ducks’ program, he created an uproar across the landscape of college football. The entire Eastern Washington program was upset with his decision, while the Oregon fan base welcomed Adams with open arms. It became so bad, during an ESPN College Gameday interview, Adams revealed he wouldn’t have transferred to Oregon if he had the chance to do it all over again. Make no mistake, the pressure is on Adams to validate his decision to join the Oregon Ducks. If the Ducks earn a victory on Saturday night, Adams won’t have to rethink his decision anymore.
Offensively, the Ducks did not skip a beat with Adams at quarterback. They scored 61 points in their season debut, behind Adams’ two touchdown passes. He also completed 76 percent of his pass attempts to eight different receivers. Byron Marshall led the way with four catches, for 69 yards, and one touchdown reception. Bralon Addison caught the other touchdown pass. Adams did not have huge passing numbers, but he connected with Dwayne Stanford for 30 yards per catch.
Royce Freeman led the way for Oregon’s running game with 180 yards and three touchdowns. As a team, Oregon gained 485 rushing yards against Eastern Washington, and Adams had the lowest yards per carry at 6.7. They will find a different level of defensive tenacity from the Spartans’ front seven.
While Oregon’s offense flourished last week, their defense was terrible. They were bombarded by Eastern Washington’s passing game, giving up 42 points. However, their performance doesn’t mean Michigan State has the offensive skill set to attack the Ducks’ weak secondary. However, the Ducks’ front four will be tested by Michigan State’s plethora of running backs.
Michigan State is carrying the banner for the Big Ten in the second week of the season, according Huskercorner.com. The Spartans carried the ball 40 times during their season debut win over Western Michigan. LJ Scott led the way with 77 yards on 13 carries. Meanwhile, Madre London and Gerald Holmes combined for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Due to Michigan State’s three-headed attack at running back, the Ducks might be in for a long day. The Spartans don’t have to get into a shootout with the high scoring Oregon Ducks.
Despite Adams’ presence on the field, Connor Cook is the most experienced quarterback on this level. Cook doesn’t have to outplay Adams, but he must make the correct plays to keep drives alive for Michigan State. Remember, the Spartans’ defense and running game should make a great impact throughout the game. No matter how the game plays out in the first three quarters, the Spartans must finish strong. Otherwise, they might have the same feeling as the ending of last season’s game.
Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET, on ABC. Currently, Michigan State is a four point favorite.