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Justin Herbert sparks Oregon past Michigan State 7-6 in Redbox Bowl

Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. (4) holds the trophy next to teammates after a 7-6 win over Michigan State during the Redbox Bowl NCAA college football game Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) ORG XMIT: CATA118 (Tony Avelar / AP)
Oregon cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. (4) holds the trophy next to teammates after a 7-6 win over Michigan State during the Redbox Bowl NCAA college football game Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) ORG XMIT: CATA118 (Tony Avelar / AP)
Associated Press

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Justin Herbert shook off a sluggish day and threw a touchdown pass to Dillon Mitchell in the fourth quarter, and Oregon held on after Michigan State botched a fake field goal attempt for a 7-6 victory in the Redbox Bowl on Monday.

Herbert passed for 166 yards and extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 28 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 a 28-yard touchdown. 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.

It was Oregon’s first bowl victory since beating Florida State in the 2015 Rose Bowl.

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