You guys are probably tired of me putting these games in my own words by now.
Well, how about hearing from one of Mark Dantonio’s best players himself?
We got Javon Ringer on the horn for a little bit to talk about our next win on the countdown.
Win No. 13
Oct. 25, 2008: MSU 35, Michigan 21
Ahh yes, the first win over Michigan in the Mark Dantonio era!
This game was a total team win on both sides of the ball.
On offense, Javon Ringer ran for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Brian Hoyer was sensational on 17/29 passing and three touchdowns. Blair White was just unfair with 143 receiving yards and one touchdown.
The defense was great too, holding Michigan to a total of 84 rushing yards. Chris L. Rucker, Jeremy Ware and Marcus Hyde all had one interception too.
Alright, let’s hear from Ringer
The Only Colors: “Is there any one thing you remember from that game when you look back on it?”
Ringer: “First and foremost the excitement leading up to it and realizing I’ve never beat Michigan and this was my last chance to not only get the win for myself and teammates, but really help coach D – my guy – get that victory over Michigan”
“And a lot of people don’t know this, but I pulled my hamstring that Thursday at practice. And it was the last drill – practice was pretty much over. And boom. I felt it pull and I fell to the ground, and I was like “what the heck.” I couldn’t believe it happened. All I could do was go rehab it and pray.”
“It’s amazing the kind of willpower you can have for yourself when it’s not just for you. I wanted to do this with my boys. I’ll never play with a lot of these guys again. And coach D man, he’s my guy. I wanted to help him get that first win. You never forget your first time doing something. I really wanted to contribute.”
On his 194 yard, two touchdown performance
Ringer: “I felt like I made (the hamstring injury) worse every time I ran. It was a fight. I remember that touchdown run I had, I broke out and all I could think about was “man, my hamstring is burning, please don’t let no one catch me.” And then I saw on film that Brandon Graham was coming in close at me and…man I just remember giving it everything I had before halftime. (laughs)”
TOC: “What were you thoughts on the Mike Hart ‘Little Brother’ comments? Fans like me obviously got fired up about it, but what was it like from a player’s perspective?”
Ringer: “How do I say this? We didn’t like the comment, but we knew we could actually do something about it, so it was a different feel compared to people who aren’t playing in the game. Some players took it more to heart than others, but for me we knew we could do something about it and we couldn’t dwell on it. And (Hart) wasn’t even going to be there the next year anyway.”
“But it’s crazy, after that comment. Man, that comment sucks for them (laughs). Because now it’s been used so much. We’ve been the better team, we have the better players, we have the better coaches, we’ve been more dominant. But year after year, Michigan State goes in with that and still goes in more angry. Our guys always get more fired up for that game.
“And I know Mike, he’s actually pretty cool. He was young, had a little comment and whatever. But it sucks for alma mater and over the last decade, Michigan State’s had more success.”
TOC: “What was the locker room like postgame?”
Ringer: “I remember it really well. Everyone was really excited. But to speak for myself, I remember just sitting in my locker and watching everybody. I was watching how happy everyone was. And of course I was happy to, but to be honest, I expected us to win that game. But I wanted that win in 2007 – that was a time when I felt Michigan was Michigan…I wanted that one. That was the team I felt like the last time they were really good.”
“I kind of wish I celebrated a little more and that I was holding onto the past and really wanted that win the year before. And I really was happy, I want to emphasize that, but I was really just sitting back and seeing the joy on the teammates.”
TOC: “And what’s it been like seeing Dantonio today after playing for him that long ago?”
Ringer: “It makes me very proud to say I played under this man. You don’t see this at a lot of schools – one guy being there for so long. That makes me extremely proud to say “that’s my coach” and he’s able to do this at the college level and continue to have the success he’s had. It’s a testament to how smart of an individual he is to see how he carries his team and the approach to every season. It’s a humbling feeling knowing I can go back to my college and see my old head coach, because a lot of guys can’t do that. I don’t feel like a stranger when I go back to Michigan State.”