Ducks defense gets tough vs. the Spartans

A popular pregame storyline pegged Saturday's Michigan State-Oregon matchup as a meeting between the smashmouth Spartans and finesse-oriented Ducks. But Oregon came away with a 46-27 win by toughening up as the game went on.

[Related highlights: Ducks pull away from Michigan State]

Two fourth-quarter plays symbolized the tough-minded Ducks:

First, Oregon outmuscled Michigan State runningback Jeremy Langford and the Spartans' offensive line on a crucial 4th-and-2 play to force a turnover at the Ducks' 23-yard line.

On MSU's next possession with the score still locked at 39-27, Ducks corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu dove to intercept a tipped ball at Oregon's own 4-yard line.

[Related interview: Helfrich, Mariota react to win]

A lengthy drive following the pick ended with a field goal, and the Ducks finished the game by winning the second half 28-0.

Score one for the Ducks D.

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