Ringer Leads MSU Into Capital One Bowl

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- All of Michigan State's other football players had long since finished answering reporters' questions, wrapping up a press conference previewing the Capital One Bowl.
But Javon Ringer was still hard at work, surrounded by TV cameras and tirelessly granting interviews in a suite overlooking Spartan Stadium.
Even off the field, Ringer carries the load for No. 19 Michigan State (9-3). He'll be relied upon to do so again on New Year's Day in Orlando against No. 16 Georgia (9-3), which has its own standout running back in Knowshon Moreno.
Ringer, a first-team Associated Press All America running back, leads the nation in carries this season with 370 -- a whopping 30.8 rushes per game. But the 5-foot-9, 202-pounder shows no signs of wearing down. Teammates and coaches attribute his stamina to freakish physical skills and an equally strong mental makeup.
"No running back in the country was asked to carry more of his team's workload," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said of his senior running back. "He's a warrior."
Ringer has a black belt in karate and his parents are both Pentecostal ministers, a unique background that helped give the Dayton, Ohio native the discipline to fight through tough times during his career at Michigan State.
Ringer blew out his knee in a game against Illinois on Sept. 30, 2006. Michigan State officials declared it a season-ending injury, but Ringer -- then a sophomore -- missed only four games. He played in the Spartans' final three games of the season.
This season, Ringer limped off the practice field with a hamstring injury a few days before an Oct. 25 game against archrival Michigan. He surprised his coaches by racking up 194 yards and two touchdowns to help the Spartans win in Ann Arbor for the first time since 1990.
Ringer lost nearly 10 pounds from a stomach virus before a Nov. 1 game against Wisconsin. He finished with just 54 yards but scored two TDs in Michigan State's 25-24, come-from-behind victory.
Only eight different Football Bowl Subdivision running backs have carried the ball 35 times or more in a single game this season. Ringer has done it five times, a big reason why he ranks third in the nation at 132.5 rushing yards per game and is tied for second in rushing touchdowns with 21.
Especially as a senior headed into his last college game, Ringer savors every carry.
"I always think, every time I get the ball in my hands, this is just another chance for me to help so many people," Ringer said. "This is my last shot to be able to help this program. This is my last shot to be able to play with such tremendous people on our team."
Ringer has impressed opponents with his durability.
"He is a true workhorse," Georgia coach Mark Richt said of Ringer. "He is 97 percent of their rushing offense. I don't know if I've ever seen that stat. The entire offense feeds off him."
Even though he isn't a big back, Ringer often is projected as an early round NFL draft choice because of his versatility and durability. He can run the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds, bench press 400 pounds and squat 620 pounds. Ringer has caught 93 passes for 689 yards and a touchdown during his career and occasionally is used as a kick returner.
Ringer is the first Michigan State running back to win first-team AP All America honors since Lorenzo White in 1987. The two will be forever linked in Michigan State's record book.
Ringer's 4,351 career rushing yards rank second only to White's 4,887 in school history. Ringer's 1,590 rushing yards this season trails only White's 2,066 in 1985.
Ringer has carried the ball 823 times in his career, third behind White (1,082 from 1984-87) and Tico Duckett (836 from 1989-92). Ringer's 370 carries this season trails only White's 419 in 1985.
Ringer's 21 touchdowns and 126 points are tied for tops in a single season with Jehuu Caulcrick, who had the same numbers in 2007.


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