Oregon and Michigan State have met six times in the past, with the first in 1979 and the last in 2015. The Redbox Bowl will be the tiebreaker with the teams 3-3 against each other.
Sept. 15, 1979, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich.: After opening the season with a 33-19 road victory at Colorado, Rich Brooks’ third Oregon team was blown out 41-17 at No. 10 Michigan State in the first meeting between the programs. Derek Hughes rushed for two touchdowns and returned a kickoff for a 100-yard touchdown to lead the Spartans, who lost six of their final eight games to finish 5-6. The Ducks won four of their final five games to finish 6-5 overall for the program’s first winning season since 1970.
Sept. 20, 1980, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene: Oregon opened the season with a loss at Stanford and a 7-7 tie against Kansas before getting into the win column with a dominant 35-7 win over the Spartans in which the home team had a 467-138 advantage in total yards. Reggie Ogburn passed for 247 yards and running back Dwight Robertson scored three touchdowns to lead the Ducks, who also tied USC that season and finished 6-3-2. The Spartans finished 3-8 under first-year coach Frank “Muddy” Waters.
Sept. 5, 1998, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene: Akili Smith passed for 266 yards and four touchdowns, Reuben Droughns rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns, and Tony Hartley caught four passes for 106 yards and another score as the Ducks dominated No. 23 Michigan State 48-14 in the opener. Oregon started the season 5-0 before a 41-38 overtime loss at UCLA. The 8-4 campaign ended with disappointing losses to Oregon State (44-41 in double overtime) and Colorado (51-43 in the Aloha Bowl). The Nick Saban-coached Spartans finished 6-6.
Sept. 2, 1999, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich.: A.J. Feeley passed for 343 yards and two touchdowns but it wasn’t enough as Oregon lost 27-20 to Michigan State in the Thursday night opener on ESPN. Herman Ho-Ching, Droughns’ backup, had a fumble bounce right into the arms of Amp Campbell, who returned the turnover for a game-changing 85-yard touchdown. The Ducks won their final six games of the season, including a 24-20 win over Minnesota in the Sun Bowl, to finish 9-3. After the Spartans finished the regular season 9-2 — including wins over Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State — Saban left to take the LSU job. Bobby Williams, who is currently Oregon’s special teams coach, was the interim coach for Michigan State’s win over Florida in the Citrus Bowl.
Sept. 6, 2014, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene: Marcus Mariota passed for 318 yards and three touchdowns, including 110 yards and two touchdowns to wide receiver Devon Allen, and the third-ranked Ducks pulled away for a 46-27 win over No. 7 Michigan State in the first nonconference matchup between top-10 teams at Autzen Stadium. The Spartans finished 11-2 overall and 7-1 in Big Ten (second in the East Division behind eventual national champion Ohio State). The marquee early-season win helped propel Oregon, the eventual Pac-12 champion, into the inaugural College Football Playoff, where it lost to the Buckeyes in the title game.
Sept. 12, 2015, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich.: Vernon Adams Jr., who played with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, overthrew a pass to a wide open Byron Marshall late on the fourth quarter as No. 7 Oregon suffered a 31-28 loss at No. 5 Michigan State. Royce Freeman had 92 yards and a touchdown for the visitors during the bitter defeat. The Spartans went on to win the Big Ten and were selected for the CFP. The Ducks finished 9-4 after Adams was injured in the first half in the infamous Alamo Bowl collapse against TCU.