Michigan State Spartans stymied on offense, lose 7-6 to Oregon in Redbox Bowl
By MICHAEL WAGAMAN
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Justin Herbert did just enough to keep his streak intact for consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Make it an impressive 28 and counting for Oregon’s quarterback, the longest active streak in the nation among FBS schools.
That it turned out to be the Ducks lone score in their 7-6 win over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl only emphasized why coach Mario Cristobal was smiling after Herbert’s decision earlier this month to bypass the NFL draft.
Herbert shook off a sluggish day and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Dillon Mitchell in the fourth quarter, and Oregon held on after Michigan State botched a field goal attempt for a 7-6 victory in the Redbox Bowl on Monday.
“We felt like it was going to be that kind of game just watching them on defense,” Cristobal said. “We kept battling and battling. You take a victory whether it be one point, two points or 50 points. These guys found a way to get it done.”
Herbert passed for 166 yards and extended his streak on a day when the Ducks’ offense mostly sputtered.
Oregon (9-4) crossed midfield only three times and couldn’t get into the end zone until Herbert found Mitchell in the right front of the end zone for the deciding score. The Ducks’ defense held up from there but got some help from Michigan State’s special teams.
The Spartans were lined up for a 50-yard field goal attempt when quarterback Brian Lewerke, who doubles as the holder, bobbled the snap, then attempted to run before hurriedly throwing an incompletion near the sideline.
After Michigan State’s defense forced a three-and-out on the following possession, the Spartans took over at their own 42, but Lewerke’s long pass on 4th-and-12 was knocked down by Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham.
Lewerke completed 22 of 40 passes for 172 yards with one interception. It’s the third time in four games that Michigan State (7-6) has failed to score a touchdown.
Running back LJ Scott ran for 84 yards on 24 carries, ending his injury-riddled season with the Spartans on a high note after being limited to five games. The senior running back declined to redshirt this year and declared for the NFL draft in early December.
Matt Goghlin kicked a pair of 34-yard field goals but he also missed one from 50.
“We never got that bust-out play,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “You’re not going to win many games scoring six points.”