Sports

No. 3 Ducks host No. 7 Spartans with possible postseason implications

  • FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2014, file photo, Jacksonville State wide receiver Anthony Johnson (9) is brought down by Michigan State cornerback Darian Hicks (2) and safety Mark Meyers (29) in the second half of an NCAA college football game in East Lansing, Mich. Big Ten defending champions Michigan State play at No. 3 Oregon on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014.  (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

    FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2014, file photo, Jacksonville State wide receiver Anthony Johnson (9) is brought down by Michigan State cornerback Darian Hicks (2) and safety Mark Meyers (29) in the second half of an NCAA college football game in East Lansing, Mich. Big Ten defending champions Michigan State play at No. 3 Oregon on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota runs the football during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against South Dakota in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota runs the football during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against South Dakota in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)  (The Associated Press)

  • Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) hands off to running back Thomas Tyner (24) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against South Dakota in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) hands off to running back Thomas Tyner (24) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against South Dakota in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)  (The Associated Press)

Oregon is known for its nimble spread offense, while Michigan State is known for its stout 3-4 defense.

But it's not as simple as offense versus defense between the No. 3 Ducks and the No. 7 Spartans, who meet Saturday afternoon in Eugene. Both teams have become known as innovators on opposite sides of the ball.

For Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, there's truth in the old cliche: Defense wins championships. It certainly worked last season when the Big Ten-champion Spartans defeated Stanford 24-20 in the Rose Bowl.

Oregon, meanwhile, has been perfecting its no-huddle spread since former coach Chip Kelly began tinkering with it in 2007 as offensive coordinator. The Ducks have found the perfect leader in dual-threat quarterback Marcus Mariota, who is as adept on his feet as he is with his arm.