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Tuesday, Feb. 27
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

The ring-er of fire, he burns, burns, burns

Ball State running back MiQuale Lewis undoubtedly prevailed in the game of cat-and-mouse last week – 60 minutes, four quarters, without getting caught.

From one eye-popping juke to another, he often left Hoosier defenders behind in what amounted to a blowout loss.

The chase lasted so long that Lewis recorded 24 points on four touchdowns and rushed for a whopping 166 yards. Not to mention, his eye-popping gambits kept IU players scratching their heads, reiterating their team’s inability to stop the run.

Moreover, it was tough for the Hoosiers to swallow the fact that the cat never won.
When the fat lady sung, it was music to the IU defense’s ears thankfully ending Lewis’ runaway in Bloomington.

But, another week means another game of cat-and-mouse, and Michigan State has all intentions of showcasing its sharp speedster out of the backfield.

If catching Lewis was unattainable last week, tracking down Spartan running back Javon Ringer will be out of the question on Saturday.

Let me put it to you this way: The Spartans aren’t coming to town. Ringer is.
Quarterback Brian Hoyer won’t be leading the green and white onto the turf. Ringer will.

And Coach Mark Dantonio’s gameplan? You guessed it – get the ball in Ringer’s hands as often as possible.

If you haven’t noticed the Spartans’ attack with regard to their talented playmaker, I’ll give you a snapshot of his last three performances.

Ringer carried the ball for a combined 116 times, totaled 618 rushing yards and notched nine touchdowns. Five came in one game against Eastern Michigan.
If those totals don’t do anything for you, do back-to-back 200-yard rushing performances sway your post? Even if you despise the Spartans, you have to tip your hat to Ringer.

Dantonio’s critics, though, question his numerous play calls for Ringer. And their theory makes sense, but only somewhat.

They argue this: Even if a running back is a Heisman Trophy candidate or an up-and-coming star, having him carry the ball 39 or more times in consecutive contests is bizarre, especially when the opponent isn’t a conference foe.
Questions of longevity come into play.

So why do I say only somewhat? Frankly, Michigan State doesn’t have anybody else close to Ringer’s caliber, and the senior has repeatedly noted that he’s comfortable with his high volume of touches.

To be blunt, rallying behind Ringer is a chance the Spartans have to take. The burden cannot fall on Hoyer’s inconsistent shoulders. The Spartan quarterback logged an impressive game in California to kick off the season, but quickly regressed back into erratic form in his team’s last three bouts.

Hoyer passed for no more than 148 yards in each of those games, netting no touchdowns.

Point blank, he’s not the guy you want to lead the Spartans down the stretch. Ringer is.

And even if the IU secondary is shaken up with injuries, I can’t see Hoyer dominating through the air.

So, count on Dantonio to keep pounding the ball even if he’s facing a feeble IU defense.

That will be his strategy. That is his only strategy. 

Expect a cat-and-mouse-like contest at the Rock. The IU defense will be the cat determined to catch the mouse and limit his yards on the ground.

On the opposite sideline, Ringer will be the mouse, and the one who wins this duel more times than none, due to his blazing speed, which the cat just doesn’t have.

Football, cat-and-mouse, whatever game you want to call it – Ringer won’t be caught.

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