The Oregon Ducks defeated the Michigan State Spartans with an excellent defensive performance in the Redbox Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
The 7-6 victory for the Ducks (9-4, 5-4 Pacific 12 Conference) was the first bowl win for the Ducks since 2015. Their last bowl win was their domination in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl against Florida State.
Meanwhile, Michigan State (7-6, 5-4 Big 10 Conference) have now lost two out of their last three bowl games. They lost in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Cotton Bowl against Alabama. They then defeated Washington State in last season’s Holiday Bowl.
Redbox Bowl recap
Oregon’s offensive struggle
The Redbox Bowl was slated to be a high-scoring affair. It was not. Oregon’s quarterback Justin Herbert announced he would be returning for his senior season and would play in this game. He had a decent game as he was 19-33 with 166 and the game-winning 28-yard touchdown to junior wide receiver Dillon Mitchell.
Outside of that drive, the Ducks were lethargic and struggled at times, especially in the first half. The second half was more of the same outside of the one touchdown drive.
On that drive, the Ducks went 77 yards in six plays that took up 1:40.
The Duck defense was mediocre as well as they allowed 331 Spartan yards (172 passing and 159 rushing) but were helped as MSU committed mental errors unlike themselves under head coach Mark Dantonio.
Mistakes cost Michigan State
The Spartans needed one field goal in the fourth quarter to give them the lead, and potentially the win.
They had their chances, but those chances slipped through their fingers.
Michigan State sophomore kicker Matt Coghlin missed a 50-yard field goal with just under nine minutes to play in the final quarter. He made a pair of 34 yarders to give Michigan State their only points.
Next, Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke bobbled the snap for a 51-yard field goal attempt late in the game that would have given the Spartans the lead.
Lewerke got the ball back with just over a minute to play and was not able to gain any yardage. The Spartans turned the ball over on downs as receiver Cody White watched the ball slip through his fingertips.
Next year Oregon should look to have their names toward the top of the Pac 12 power rankings. Their defensive performance and the strong offensive core that they are returning next season will make the Ducks a real contender next season.
The Spartans are going to be in about the same boat that they were this year. They will be towards the middle of the pack in the Big 10 but will compete with the big players (Ohio State, Michigan, etc.).