Sept. 20, 2008
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Javon Ringer ran for 201 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries, carrying Michigan State to a 23-7 win over Notre Dame on Saturday.
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 that he capped with his second score with 2:16 left.
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, one in the end zone on a play that was overturned by a video review.
Clausen was sacked three times – after not being sacked once in the first two games – and was hurried and hit numerous times. Brandon Long was credited with 2 1/2 sacks.
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.
Brandon Walker missed two field goals. A 51-yard kick sailed right in the second quarter and a 41-yard kick went left after a high snap with 5:50 to go in the game, ruining a chance to get within six.
Notre Dame coach Charlie 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.
Ringer led the nation with nine touchdowns and 104 carries after three games, coming off career highs with 43 carries and 282 yards in a shutout win over Florida Atlantic. He took another step toward stardom with his performance against an Irish team geared to stop him and his highlight of the day was a 63-yard run that set up his second TD.
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.
Brett Swenson kicked his second field goal with in the third quarter, putting the Spartans ahead 13-0. That proved to be enough scoring for the Spartans, who have won three straight after losing the opener at California.