September 2, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Michigan State expects to be at full-strength for Oregon

Mark Dantonio on Oregon game
Mark Dantonio on Oregon game: MSU football coach talks about the Spartans' upcoming game against 3rd-ranked Oregon in Eugene.

East Lansing — Michigan State appears to be no worse for wear heading into Saturday’s showdown against No. 3 Oregon.

In the opening victory over Jacksonville State, Michigan State had its share of players limp off the field. Quarterback Connor Cook took a shot to the left knee on the first series but returned and played the entire first half, while running back Jeremy Langford sat out the second half after injuring his ankle in the first.

Both said they were fine, and coach Mark Dantonio reiterated that Tuesday.

The bigger questions surrounded left guard Travis Jackson and wide receiver Macgarrett Kings. Jackson appeared to injure his back while Kings hurt his ankle.

But with the Spartans diving into their game preparation, it appears both will be ready.

“You guys know how I am about injuries,” Dantonio said. “We’ll list them when we get to the game. If they’re not going to play in Saturday’s game, I’ll let you know, but right now we anticipate them practicing and playing.”

Jackson, a fifth-year senior, is listed on the depth chart as the starter at left guard while Kings is backing up R.J. Shelton at flanker, the same spot he was listed last week.

With the depth at receiver, the status of Jackson is more pressing. If he is unable to play, it likely would mean more playing time for true freshman Brian Allen.

The Spartans also are working to get Brandon Clemonsup to speed as he makes the transition from defensive tackle.

Mimicking Mariota

Michigan State will have its hands full with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

The Heisman hopeful threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in Oregon’s victory over South Dakota last week, but Michigan State believes it has the right mix of quarterbacks — redshirt freshman Damion Terry and sophomore Tyler O’Connor — to prepare their defense.

“We’ll use Damion a little bit on scout team and probably Tyler, as well, when the other one is getting reps,” Dantonio said. “But we’re not going to have people standing around. There’s certain periods that we’ll do certain things and add people to the mix to help simulate. We’ve always done that, and we always will.”

White without stripes

Oregon has enough uniform combinations to last most teams several seasons. And with Michigan State also wearing Nike, the question is whether the Spartans will have anything special in store for Saturday.

Not as far as Dantonio knows.

When he was asked if he knew what the Spartans would be wearing, he had a simple answer.

“White,” he said.

While it appears the Spartans won’t wear anything special, it is likely the white uniforms will look different this year than the previous four as the green shoulder stripes will be gone.

Lots of subs

The three-hour time change will be a challenge for Michigan State, which will head to Eugene, Oregon, on Thursday afternoon after practicing.

Jet lag, however, won’t be the only concern. Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s on Saturday, something that has been scarce in Michigan this year.

“I think in any game like this you’ve got to play a lot of players,” Dantonio said. “That’s been our trend because it’s a no-huddle-type system, so you’ve got to be able to substitute, get your guys on and off, and you’ve got to play a lot of players.

“We’ll be ready to play; we’ll be conditioned for it.”

Michigan State at Oregon

Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon

TV/radio: FOX/WJR

Line: Oregon by 13

Records: No. 8 Michigan State 1-0; No. 3 Oregon 1-0

Series: Tied 2-2 (last 1999 — Michigan State won at home, 27-20)

Did you know? It is the first regular-season matchup of top-10 teams for Michigan State since the infamous 10-10 tie game with Notre Dame in 1966.

Spartans receiver MacGarrett Kings Jr. (85) is expected to break tackles again despite hurting his ankle. / Dale G. Young / Detroit News