WHO: Michigan State (7-5) vs. Oregon (8-4)
WHAT: The 17th Redbox Bowl
WHEN: 3:00 p.m. ET on FOX
WHERE: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
THE SKINNY: The moment Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert announced his decision to return for the 2019 season in Eugene, this game immediately became a bit more notable. With Herbert coming back next season, the chances he would sit out of this bowl game were practically eliminated, which means we get to see one of the top quarterbacks in the nation play in a bowl game and attempt to set the tone heading to the offseason leading up to what could be a promising 2019 campaign for the Oregon Ducks.
Herbert will lead an Oregon offense that isn’t quite like the glory days under former head coach Chip Kelly, but one that is continuing to build confidence in their own style under first-year head coach Mario Cristobal. In addition to an efficient passing game with Herbert, the Ducks know how to run the ball as well. Freshmen CJ Verdell and Travis Dye combined for 1,696 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns (Verdell getting a healthy share of the scores with 10 touchdowns).
Michigan State’s season had more than a few bumps in the road with key injuries and tough losses, but the hope for the Spartans is that having a healthy Brian Lewerke at quarterback and running back LJ Scott should give the Spartans a needed boost on offense. If healthy, Michigan State should be able to move the ball on the Ducks, but Michigan State’s offense has come up small at times this season. Michigan State combined for 26 points total in their final three games of the season. They won’t be able to afford a sputtering offense in this matchup.
THE LINE: Oregon -3.0
THE PREDICTION: Oregon 27, Michigan State 24