Oregon Ducks vs Michigan State: Spartan Avenue Helps Breakdown The Matchup


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The biggest non-conference game of the season is here. Oregon takes on Michigan State on Saturday night and there are a lot of questions entering the game for both sides following lackluster opening games. Michigan State gave up twenty-four points to Eastern Washington. Our own Justin Phillips caught up with Connor Muldowney from

Fansided’s Spartan Avenue

to get his take on the game this weekend.

JP: Who on Offense, aside from Connor Cook should Oregon fans look out for on the field on Saturday?

CM: I think there are multiple options for players to watch for. When the Spartans run the ball, redshirt freshman running back Madre London has a chance to really take on the role Jeremy Langford had last year.
True freshman L.J. Scott is also a force in the rushing attack as he’s probably the most talented player at the position on the team. As for the receivers, Aaron Burbridge is a threat to be a breakout star and tight end Josiah Price is a silent killer.

Sep 4, 2015; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans defense takes the field prior to a game and Western Michigan at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

JP: How is Michigan State’s Run Defense going to handle the power running game of three Oregon Running Backs that all scored touchdowns last Saturday?

CM: Michigan State had the best run defense in the nation a year ago. All of those guys, outside of Marcus Rush, return to this year’s front four and they might just be the most athletic group in the nation. Freeman might put up some solid numbers early, but expect the front-seven to close the gaps and eliminate running from the Ducks late-game playbook.

JP: Momentum in this game will be a huge factor? Where do you see the early momentum going and what angle of the Ducks Defense do you think that the Spartans will try to stop?

CM: Early momentum seems to always go to the home team. These guys are amped up and prepared to show off in front of their own fans and that will show accordingly on the field.
I think the Spartans will attack the Ducks on the ground early. The Spartans like the pound the ball and then hope that opens up the pass game, but if that doesn’t work, I expect momentum to shift in Oregon’s favor.

JP: After watching Eastern Washington gash Oregon through the air will the Spartans look to the air attack or go with the traditional Big Ten Ground and Pound?

CM: The thing with Mark Dantonio is he will always do the unexpected. He likes to mix things up and he’s rarely predictable. I say he will start off running the ball for most of the first series and if he sees success with that, he will open up the pass game. I wouldn’t put it past Coach D to have Connor Cook try to exploit a struggling secondary.

Jan 1, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Bryce Petty (14) is sacked by Michigan State Spartans defensive lineman Joel Heath (92) and defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) during the second half in the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Bears 42-41. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

JP: The Spartans have a ton of talent on Defense, who is their best Defensive player and what do you see the overall Defense doing overall to stop the Ducks?

CM: The top defender on the Spartans defense may be Shilique Calhoun at defensive end but don’t sleep on free safety Montae Nicholson who could help restore the ‘No Fly Zone.’ I feel as if the defense will play man coverage, as that’s what works best in their favor, and press the Ducks early. Expect a lot of blitzes to make Adams uncomfortable in the pocket and when he escapes, the defensive line will try to contain him.

Oregon takes on Michigan State at Spartan Stadium Saturday at 5pm Pacific Time on ABC.

Next: Oregon vs Michigan State: It's Showtime for Vernon Adams