The first half saw Oregon open up the game with a 13 plays and 75 yards scoring drive. Vernon Adams looked to come out of the game hot, find Charles Nelson for multiple big chunk plays. The drive was capped off with a Royce Freeman 2 yard touchdown run. Michigan State was able to answer quickly with a 3 play drive with Connor Cook finding Josiah Price in the end zone. Things would slow down for both teams with 3 punts, a Michigan State missed field goal, and Vernon Adams throwing an interception to Montae Nicholson. The Spartans were able to capitalize on that turnover with a touchdown for a 14-7 lead. The next Oregon drive saw a goal line stand by the Spartan defense and on the following Oregon drive, Adams threw his 2nd interception. The first half would end with a 14-7 Spartan lead.
The 2nd half started great, as Bralon Addison returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown to tie the game. Michigan State would take a 21-14 lead with a 6 yard run from freshman running back LJ Scott and follow that up with a field goal after forcing Oregon to a 3 and out. Things were looking bad as Adams hit a cold streak and was visibly in pain from that finger injury. However, he was able to turn things around by capping off a long drive with a rushing touchdown. The second half really saw some fireworks, as the Spartans answered with another LJ Scott touchdown to take back the 10 point lead. A few drives later, Adams finds Byron Marshall in the corner of the end zone to bring the Ducks back within 3 with 3:25 left on the clock. Momentum really seemed to be leaning in Oregon's direction, as they were driving down the field with 2 minutes left on the clock to take a lead. However, Adams missed a wide open Byron Marshall followed up with a costly sack, then on 4th and 16, the Spartan defense stiffens, and creates a turnover on downs.
Final: Michigan State: 31, Oregon: 28
While this loss does hurt, it by no means completely ruins Oregon's chances to make a return to the playoffs. Does it hurt them? Of course, but look at what Ohio State did last year after an early season loss. Really, if Oregon wins the PAC-12, they have a legitimate shot to return to the CFP. Vernon Adams has shown flashes of the type of player that Oregon hopes he can be and why they brought him in. However, it is obvious that his short time with the team and learning the system has held him back some, as this offense isn't quite where everyone wants it to be. If he continues to learn the offensive scheme and acclimates himself with the rest of the team on the pace that he has in the short times he's been here, this shouldn't be an issue going forward. Only time will tell, though, as this team goes as far as he can.
More updates and in-depth analysis to come.