Ringer Carries MSU To Win Over Eastern Michigan

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- After carrying the ball a career high 34 times, Michigan State running back Javon Ringer had every right to be a little worn out after Saturday's game with Eastern Michigan.
But there were no obvious signs of wear and tear showing on the 5-foot-9, 202-pound senior. Could be the Spartans' 42-10 victory took away any pain Ringer might have felt afterward.
"I can only speak for the present," Ringer said when asked about the consequences of his workload. "And right now, I feel pretty good."
Ringer had a career-high five rushing TDs along with 135 yards to carry the Spartans (1-1) over the Eagles (1-1) in Michigan State's home opener.
Ringer carried 27 times in last week's loss at California, the most among Big Ten rushers on the season's opening weekend. He was the workhorse for the Spartans again Saturday, especially early. Ringer carried 25 times for 105 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, helping the Spartans take a 21-7 halftime lead.
Ringer might have had a school record-tying six TDs, but he fumbled just before crossing the goal line on a 3-yard plunge on the game's opening drive. The ball was recovered by Eastern Michigan's Jermaine Jenkins for a touchback.
Teammates often credit Ringer for being unselfish. But even when Ringer has to carry the offensive load, his coaches don't seem worried about him breaking down from overuse.
"He can rest six days," head coach Mark Dantonio said, noting Michigan State doesn't resume game action until hosting Florida Atlantic next Saturday. "It's not much of a concern. He's the kind of player who wants the football."
Said quarterback Brian Hoyer: "He's never tired. He's a freak. And he's in great shape."
Hoyer didn't have to do much Saturday, but was efficient when called upon. He completed 8 of 12 passes for 148 yards.
Otis Wiley returned five punts for a combined 113 yards, giving the Spartans good field position much of the game.
Eastern Michigan's spread offense struggled against a faster, aggressive Michigan State defense.
The Eagles tied the game at 7 early in the second quarter following an 80-yard touchdown drive capped by quarterback Andy Schmitt's 3-yard TD run. But the Spartans responded with 35 unanswered points.
"It was a little field position game where we kept digging ourselves in a hole on first down," said Schmitt, who completed 11 of 23 passes for 111 yards. "When it's second and long, third and long, it's kind of hard as an offense to move the ball."
The Eagles mustered 342 yards of total offense but missed several scoring opportunities.
Trailing 21-7 midway through the third quarter, a holding call nullified what might have been a been a touchdown run for the Eagles. Eastern lined up for a 22-yard field goal but ran a fake, with holder Ryan Downard stopped on the 1-yard line.
It dashed whatever hopes the Eagles might have had for an upset.
"It was an aggressive call," Eastern Michigan coach Jeff Genyk said. "Obviously we're coaching to win the football game. There's no question that scoring a touchdown there would have given us a lot of momentum."
Michigan State responded with a long touchdown drive, capped by a 1-yard Ringer run, to take a 28-7 lead.
Michigan State owns a 37-6-2 record against current members of the Mid-American Conference. The Spartans have won 15 straight against MAC teams since stumbling twice against Central Michigan in the early 1990s.
Eastern Michigan is 0-24 all-time against Big Ten teams, including 0-8 against Michigan State.

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