The Big Ten and the Pac-12 will meet up in the Redbox Bowl on Dec. 31. Oregon and Michigan State will duel it out for a big win before the new year. Here is the 2018 Redbox Bowl preview.
Michigan State Spartans (7-5)
Michigan State was thought to be a top team in the Big Ten, but failed to live up to expectations. They were able to beat three bowl-eligible teams in Utah State, Penn State and Purdue. The Spartans only lost to bowl-eligible teams, with the exception of Nebraska, who they lost to in the second last week of the season.
Their offense has been a liability, scoring 19.8 points per game, which is tied for 121st in the country. They rush for 122 yards per game (ranked 115th) and pass for 221 yards per game (ranked 74th).
Brian Lewerke and Rocky Lombardi both have played for Michigan State, but Lewerke will likely start this game. He has 1,868 passing yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 54.2% passing. The Spartans spread the ball around, but Cody White leads the team with 491 receiving yards. Their second leading receiver is Felton Davis, who will be out for this game with an Achille’s injury.
The Spartans thought they were going to have L.J. Scott for this season, but he’s only been able to rush for 180 yards after being limited by injuries. Connor Heyward has led the team with 520 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Their defense is one of the best in the country, allowing 18 points per game, which ranks 14th in the country. They give up 81 rush yards (ranked first) and 230.2 pass yards (ranked 64th) per game. Defensive end Kenny Willekes has been huge for the Spartans with 8.5 sacks.
Oregon Ducks (8-4)
Oregon had a solid first season under Mario Cristobal by getting to eight wins. Three of their eight wins came over bowl-eligible teams, with their best win coming over rival Washington. Their only loss to a non-bowl-eligible team came to Arizona.
The Ducks score 37.2 points per game, ranking them 18th nationally. They rush for 191.3 yards (ranked 48th) and pass for 254.7 yards (ranked 43rd) per game, giving them good balance.
Justin Herbert is a future pro that has really changed things for the Ducks over the last two seasons. He has thrown for 2,985 yards, 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 59.6% completion. The Ducks have one receiver that stands out above the rest in Dillon Mitchell. He has 69 receptions for 1,114 yards and nine touchdowns.
Two running backs have done most of the work for the Ducks in C.J. Verdell and Travis Dye. Verdell has rushed for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns. Dye has added 721 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
They are tied for 63rd in scoring defense at 27 points allowed per game. The Ducks give up 143.1 rushing yards (ranked 44th) and 247.4 passing yards (ranked 94th) per game. Freshman defensive back Jevon Holland has made an impact this season with four interceptions.
Michigan State will stop the run like they always do, but this will just give Justin Herbert a chance to prove how good he is. Herbert will make key throws and Oregon’s defense will do enough to hang on.
Oregon Ducks 32 Michigan State Spartans 21
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