Announced on Sunday , Oregon will play in the Redbox bowl on Dec. 31st against Michigan State University in Santa Clara, California. The game, which will kick off at noon, will be the seventh all-time meeting between the two schools.
Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal addressed the team’s mentality for the postseason matchup.
“Playing in the Redbox bowl, it’s a great game, a great location and a great opponent — an opponent with a storied history,” Cristobal said. “To be able to go to Santa Clara, where so many of our players are from, so many of our players’ families reside and so much recruiting takes place for us in the state of California, it’s certainly a tremendous opportunity for us on a big stage.”
Despite the 55-15 Civil War victory last month, injuries once again plagued Oregon. The team was forced to play the game, the last in its regular-season schedule, without a handful of its key players, including senior Jalen Jelks who was injured in practice earlier in the week.
The potentially most-detrimental injury occurred during the game when right before halftime, quarterback Justin Herbert went down hard during a sack and injured his shoulder. Herbert, a possible first round pick in the upcoming NFL draft, was taken off the field after the play and did not return to the game.
On Sunday, Cristobal confirmed the injury consisted of a deep bruise and was not severe. Cristobal said Herbert will play in the bowl game. As to when Herbert will make a decision about staying in Eugene for another year, Cristobal said Herbert will make a choice after the bowl game.
Cristobal, who’s been on the road for the past week recruiting, has yet to watch a good amount of film on Michigan State. However, from what he does know about the team comes from coaching against them in 2015, while he was the offensive line coach at Alabama.
“They are what we all know of Michigan State history,” Cristobal said. “This is a very big and physical football team with some good explosive players. … What I saw on film was guys that control the line of scrimmage and knock you back. They do a real good job of disguising their pressures.”
With over a month span from the Ducks’ last played game until they play again on Dec. 31, the team will begin to take part in light and abbreviated practices starting a week from this Friday.
Update on athlete status
During his press conference on Sunday, Cristobal updated the media on the health status of a handful of players who have been injured this season:
-After his shoulder injury in the Civil War, Herbert is healthy and will play in the bowl game.
-Freshman offensive lineman Penei Sewell, who sat out six games after injuring his ankle during Oregon’s game against Washington, is expected to be fully recovered in time for the game.
-Senior running back Tony Brooks-James strained his knee also during the Civil War, but Cristobal said he will be recovered and ready to practice prior to the Bowl game.
-Jelks, Steven Jones, Austin Faoliu, Justin Collins, Isaac Slade-Matautia, Cyrus Habibi-Likio and Kaulana Apelu will all be recovered and ready to play for the game as well.
-Cristobal said he was unsure yet about the confirmed status of Kano Dillon and Andrew Johnson, who is being evaluated later this week.
-Senior cornerback Haki Woods Jr. also remains questionable for the Bowl game.
Follow Maggie Vanoni on Twitter: @maggie_vanoni