3:30 PM ET, September 20, 2008
Spartan Stadium (MI), East Lansing, MI
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Javon Ringer is trying to share the spotlight.
He brought a slew of offensive linemen, tight ends and fullbacks to a news conference after running for 201 yards and two touchdowns on 39 attempts, carrying the Spartans to a 23-7 win over Notre Dame on Saturday.
"We were able to win because of these guys," Ringer said. "Not because of me."
• Javon Ringer, who ran for 201 yards and two TDs to lead the Spartans, has back-to-back 200 yard rushing games and has 699 rushing yards in four games this season. He also has 11 rushing TDs, which lead all FBS players.
• The Spartans have won nine of their last 12 meetings vs. Notre Dame and have beaten them 27 times overall, the second most by any Irish opponent (USC, 32).
• Jimmy Clausen played well for Notre Dame, throwing for 242 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions and was sacked twice.
• The home team finally won in this rivalry, the first time it's happened since the Spartans won in 2000.
-- ESPN Research
His speed, power and some spin helped him take advantage of holes, becoming the first player to run for 200 yards in consecutive games in Michigan State history.
Ringer has carried the ball 143 times this year, making him the busiest running back through four games since Iowa State's Troy Davis had six more carries in 1996 according to STATS.
"You can hit him and hit him and he just keeps coming," Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis said.
Ringer led the nation with nine touchdowns and 104 carries after three games, coming off career highs with 43 carries and 282 yards last week.
"You want to feature your best player," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "And right now, that's our tailback."
Michigan State (3-1) took a 13-0 lead into the fourth quarter, then sealed the victory by handing off to Ringer on all seven plays of a 77-yard drive he capped with a TD with 2:16 left.
"Giving Javon the ball each time was a statement for our offensive line," Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer said. "We did what we wanted to do."
The Irish (2-1) turned the ball over three times and missed two field goals, hurting their chances of starting 3-0 for the first time since 2002 and the second time in 12 years.
Jimmy Clausen was 24-of-41 for 242 yards with a TD and two interceptions in the first half, one of which was in the end zone on a play that was overturned by a video review.
"Jimmy, with how things had gone in the first half, could have come out and gone flat in the second half," Weis said. "But he certainly didn't. He really stepped up and picked up his game."
Rittenberg: Late Awakening
Notre Dame made the decision to abandon the run game and operate mainly from the shotgun, and got big plays from young wideouts Golden Tate and Michael Floyd in the fourth quarter, Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg writes. Blog
Michigan State shut down the Irish's running game and the sacks led to them finishing with 16 yards rushing and seven points, both of which were among the worst totals in Weis' three-plus seasons.
"We were one-dimensional," Clausen said.
Michael Floyd caught a 26-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter, getting Notre Dame within six points, after fumbling at the Michigan State 20 early in the third.
The Spartans got off to a good start, limiting Notre Dame to minus-5 yards on its first two drives and kicking a field goal on their opening possession.
Clausen's up-for-grabs pass in the end zone to a double-covered Duval Kamara was ripped away by safety Otis Wiley on Notre Dame's third drive. It was originally ruled incomplete but overturned by replay.
Clausen threw another poor pass in the second quarter and it was picked off by Wiley at the Notre Dame 22, setting up Ringer's first TD.
Ringer took another step toward stardom with his performance against an Irish team geared to stop him. His highlight of the day was a 63-yard run that set up his second TD.
Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi compared Ringer to Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett.
"Put my vote in for Javon Ringer for the Heisman Trophy," Narduzzi said.
Weis was on the sideline without crutches, wearing a brace under his blue slacks that protected his right knee that was injured in last week's win over Michigan.
After trying to deflect questions about his health leading up to the game, Weis tried his best after it to address a question about a laptop that officials removed from Notre Dame's coaching box.
"It wasn't like there was somebody trying to do something illegal," Weis said.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-13||6-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||1-1|
|FG||11:14||Brett Swenson 45 Yd||0||3|
|TD||03:28||Javon Ringer 1 Yd Run (Brett Swenson Kick)||0||10|
|FG||05:32||Brett Swenson 26 Yd||0||13|
|TD||14:51||Michael Floyd 26 Yd Pass From Jimmy Clausen (Brandon Walker Kick)||7||13|
|FG||09:10||Brett Swenson 23 Yd||7||16|
|TD||02:16||Javon Ringer 1 Yd Run (Brett Swenson Kick)||7||23|