1. The Spartan offensive line is for real. Big Green out gained the Ducks 197-123 on the ground... and maybe more importantly, averaged 5.3 yards per carry. The Duck defense didn't lay a hand on our QB, Connor Cook, for nearly the entire game, and Cook wasn't sacked. Cook looked like he had all day to throw the ball... which means...
2. Cook has to play better. He was 20-32, but missed some wide open targets. He threw a bad INT in the second quarter when the Spartans were marching down the field. Now, Cook came back and had a HUGE throw late in the 3rd quarter to Aaron Burbridge on a 4th-and-6 which was a laser beam. But, Cook needs to make connection on third down late in the game (he missed passes to RJ Shelton and to Burbridge that allowed the Ducks to score a late TD and force the defense to make a 4th down stop, which they did, which underscores....
3. The Spartan defense is for real. The DL put pressure on Duck QB Vernon Adams all game long, had 4 sacks, and for the most part bottled up the vaunted Oregon running attack (only 2.9 ypc). Until the last drive, Oregon had only 350 total yards... The Oregon offense only found the end zone 3 times. This is a team that typically scores 50+ and gains over 550 yards. The goal line stand was huge. Big plays by the defense throughout the game. Impressive. Our three LBs (Bullough, Harris, Reschke) combined for 37 tackles. Wow.
4. The return coverage needs work. Two straight games, MSU has given up long kick/punt returns for scores. It makes the game look closer than it was. Our punter, Jake Hartbarger, actually was impressive in flipping the field when necessary, averaging 51.4 yards per punt on five punts... but one he out kicked his coverage on a line drive that led to the return TD by the Ducks. This needs work.
5. Our RBs and WR are very good. LJ Scott (11-76, 6.9 ypc, 2 TDs) is a stud - he runs the ball with authority, has good footwork and can flat out haul it. Aaron Burbridge is our go-to guy at wideout, had a fantastic game w 8 catches for 101 yards and a score. Macgarrett "Book 'Em Danno" Kings had six catches for 48 yards. All around, a good day for our skill players.
Here's the stats:
ORE MSU FIRST DOWNS................... 26 21 NET YARDS RUSHING............. 123 197 Rushing Attempts............ 43 37 Average Per Rush............ 2.9 5.3 NET YARDS PASSING............. 309 192 Completions-Attempts-Int.... 22-39-2 20-32-1 TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS........... 432 389 Total offense plays......... 82 69 Average Gain Per Play....... 5.3 5.6 Fumbles: Number-Lost.......... 2-0 0-0 Penalties: Number-Yards....... 9-56 2-15 Average Yards Per Punt...... 30.7 51.4 Third-Down Conversions........ 4 of 13 3 of 12 Fourth-Down Conversions....... 2 of 6 2 of 2 Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 0-0 4-18