Fittingly, Michigan State needed to hold one more time on fourth down against Oregon’s always-dynamic offense.
When the pass by Vernon Adams Jr. fell incomplete, the Spartans had secured a victory that could be crucial by the time this season ends.
Connor Cook threw for two touchdowns, and No. 5 Michigan State held on to beat No. 7 Oregon, 31-28, Saturday night at East Lansing, Mich., in college football’s marquee game of the week.
The Spartans stopped the Ducks four times on fourth down, including one key stand in the second quarter near the Michigan State goal line.
The Spartans (2-0) led for most of the second half, and it was 31-21 before Oregon’s Adams threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Byron Marshall with 3:25 remaining.
After a Michigan State punt, the Ducks (1-1) drove to the Spartans 33 before Adams overthrew Marshall, who had beaten his defender and was about 10 yards in the clear.
The Spartans then sacked Adams for a loss of 10, and his fourth-down pass was incomplete.
LJ Scott ran for two touchdowns for Michigan State, and Aaron Burbridge caught eight passes for 101 yards and a touchdown.
It was the first time two teams in the AP Top 10 met at Spartan Stadium since 1966, when No. 2 Michigan State and No. 1 Notre Dame played to a 10-10 tie.
Cook threw for 192 yards and Scott ran for 76. Madre London added 103 yards rushing for the Spartans.
The score was tied at 14 after Bralon Addison returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter, but Michigan State took the lead again on Scott’s six-yard touchdown run. A 38-yard scoring run by Scott made it 31-21 with 10:51 remaining.
Adams nearly rallied the Ducks. His scoring pass to Marshall marked the 70th consecutive game Oregon had thrown a touchdown pass, breaking a record the Ducks had shared with Texas Tech, which had a streak of 69 games from 2006-11.
No. 22 Arizona 44, at Nevada 20: Nick Wilson ran for 194 yards and three touchdowns and Anu Solomon passed for 264 yards and two scores for the Wildcats (2-0) at Reno. Solomon, who played at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High, was 24 for 33 with no interceptions.
at Stanford 31, Central Florida 7: Kevin Hogan passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns, and the Cardinal (1-1) got into gear after a sluggish start to rebound from an opening loss to Northwestern. Stanford rolled up 491 yards and held the Knights (0-2) to 181.
at California 35, San Diego State 7: Jared Goff threw for two touchdowns in a 21-second span to break open a tight game and the Golden Bears (2-0) overcame a sluggish start to beat the Aztecs (1-1). Goff, who completed 17 of 24 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns, moved to within 16 yards of breaking Troy Taylor’s school record for career passing yards.
at Michigan 35, Oregon State 7: De’Veon Smith rushed for 126 yards and three touchdowns, lifting the Wolverines (1-1) past the Beavers (1-1) in Jim Harbaugh’s first home game as Michigan’s coach. Oregon State managed only 138 yards of total offense.
at Washington 49, Sacramento State 0: Myles Gaskin rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns, Jake Browning passed for 326 yards and two scores, and the Huskies (1-1) rebounded from their opening loss to Boise State.
Washington State 37, at Rutgers 34: Luke Falk passed eight yards to River Cracraft for the winning touchdown with 13 seconds to play, lifting the Cougars to their first win. The play capped a 10-yard, 90-yard drive that began with 1:31 left. Both teams are 1-1.
at Colorado 48, Massachusetts 14: Michael Adkins and Christian Powell became the first Colorado backs to eclipse 100 yards rushing in the same game in nearly five years, and the Buffaloes ended a nine-game losing streak. Adkins had 119 yards, Powell 105.