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Michigan St., Oregon Look To Salvage Seasons With Bowl Win

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Levi’s stadium prepped for Redbox bowl on December 31, 2018.";

Michigan State (7-5) vs. Oregon (8-4), Monday, 3 p.m. EST (Fox). Series Record: Tied 3-3.

 

WHAT’S AT STAKE

 

Both teams were ranked in the top 15 of the AP Top 25 earlier this season and had much higher aspirations than the Redbox Bowl. 

 

But ending the season with a win against an opponent with pedigree would provide a silver lining to an otherwise disappointing campaign.

 

KEY MATCHUP

 

Michigan State’s Run D vs. Oregon’s offense. The Spartans rank first among FBS teams in run defense, allowing just 81.3 yards per game. 

 

But the Ducks present a tough challenge with talented freshmen CJ Verdell and Travis Dye. They are one of just six Power Five running back duos with at least 700 yards each.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

 

Michigan State: DL Kenny Willekes. The Big Ten’s Defensive Lineman of the Year led the conference in tackles for loss (20½) and ranked fourth in sacks (8½).

 

Oregon: QB Justin Herbert. The bowl season already was a big win for the Ducks when Herbert announced he would return for his senior season. Herbert has the longest streak in the nation with 27 straight games with at least one TD pass. Oregon has averaged 39.4 ppg in Herbert’s 27 career starts, including 13 games with at least 40 points.

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

Michigan State won five of its last six bowl games. Oregon has lost three straight bowl games since beating Florida State in playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl following 2014 season. 

 

The Spartans have held the opposition to 21 or fewer points nine times. Michigan State has allowed just 29 runs of at least 10 yards, tied for the fewest in the FBS. 

 

Spartans RB Connor Heyward’s 32 catches are the most for a Spartans RB since Le’Veon Bell had 32 in 2012.

 

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