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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Ringer will be tough test in East Lansing

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They’ve faced preseason Heisman hopeful Chris “Beanie” Wells — he rushed for 168 yards in a 20-17 Ohio State victory.

They’ve faced the Big Ten’s third-leading rusher — Penn State’s Evan Royster gained 60 yards on the ground in a 48-7 Nittany Lions blowout win.


They’ve also faced Iowa’s Shonn Greene, the conference’s second-leading rusher — he pounded them for 217 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten) travel to East Lansing, Mich., to take on the Big Ten’s No. 1 rusher, Michigan State’s Javon Ringer. Needless to say, the UW defense will have its hands full at Spartan Stadium all afternoon.

“Javon Ringer is a Heisman-caliber running back,” UW middle linebacker Jaevery McFadden said. “What more could you ask for in terms of motivation?”

Ringer, a senior, enters Saturday’s game with 1,373 yards and 16 touchdowns on 300 carries; all three are tops in the nation.

“Javon Ringer is shifty; he’ll do whatever he wants,” said strong safety Jay Valai. “He’ll be in the hole, jump around, he’ll run through you. He’s a great running back, but we’ve got to come at him aggressively.”

As for the Spartans’ game plan, the Wisconsin defense has an inkling of what they might see.

“Ringer, Ringer, Ringer and more Ringer,” Valai said.

“Stop him? More like slow him down. He’s a great player. I know he’s going to be ready for us, so we’ve got to be ready for him, or it could be bad.”

No. 21 Michigan State (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) is coming off of a 35-21 victory over Michigan at Ann Arbor, a game in which Ringer rushed for 194 yards and two scores on 37 carries. But the Badger defenders are aware that No. 23 isn’t the only threat they’ll face Saturday. Spartans senior quarterback Brian Hoyer threw for 282 yards and threw three touchdowns of his own against the Wolverines, rounding out a potent green and white attack.

“If you concentrate on Ringer, they’ve got good play action passes and pretty good receivers that can catch the ball, too,” McFadden said. “Just because they’ve got Ringer back there doesn’t mean that’s all they’re going to use.”

Hoyer has thrown for 1,623 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. The Spartans’ top four receivers all average over 15 yards per catch, proof of the play action success McFadden alluded to. But the UW defense knows offensive efficiency is impossible without a solid corps up front.

“[Ringer’s] name is the one that goes into the paper, but that means his offensive line is doing something right, too,” defensive tackle Mike Newkirk said. “As a defensive line, that’s what we look at. They’ve got big guys, strong guys. These guys sustain blocks very well. They do what they do, and they’re not going to change from it all game.”

The Badgers are coming off a double-digit win of their own, a 27-17 victory over Illinois — their first since Sept. 13 against Fresno State. The Wisconsin defense was the first to hold the Illini under 20 total points this season, as it forced three Juice Williams interceptions and held the dangerous Illinois spread offense in check all afternoon. But ask them about it, and they’ll tell you it’s ancient history.

“The win was enjoyed, and then it was put away,” Newkirk said. “It was nice to get out of the rut, but now it’s behind us. It doesn’t have any affect on this week.Michigan State doesn’t care and neither should we.”

In the last year-and-a-half, the Badgers are only 3-6 on the road under third-year head coach Bret Bielema. But to them, the venue makes no difference.

“The field is 100 yards no matter where we go. Football is football,” Newkirk said. “It’s not any different for me.”

Basically, Wisconsin only has one thing on its mind.

“We’ve got to come out there and be road warriors,” McFadden said. “We’ve got to go in there, do what we’ve got to do and get out.”

“We know we’ve got our backs against the wall; nobody’s giving us a chance,” Valai added. “We’re ready to prove people wrong and beat Michigan State Saturday.”

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