Spartans could be without Ringer, Caulcrick

Caulcrick, Ringer both banged up

Michigan State could be without its top two running backs when they head into their road opener against the University of Pittsburgh (12:00 Noon EST) on Saturday at Heinz Field.

EAST LANSING - Michigan State could be without its top two running backs when they head into their road opener against the University of Pittsburgh (12:00 Noon EST) on Saturday at Heinz Field.

"[Javon] Ringer has a sore ankle right now," said Spartans head coach John L. Smith. "The trainers are going to take a look at it and we're going to have to wait and see exactly what it is but (hopefully) it's nothing but a sprain, hopefully, and he'll be back ready to go."

The loss of Ringer would be big, since he is both the team's starting running back and their primary kick returner.

Smith felt more confident that junior Jehuu Caulcrick, who sat out Saturday's 52-20 blowout win over Eastern Michigan, would be able to go against Pitt.

"Caulcrick should be ready to go," said Smith. "He could have played (Saturday) but you don't want to take any chances. It was a sprained foot, I think it was. It was good to see A.J. (Jimmerson) come in and get some snaps."

Jimmerson, a redshirt freshman, picked up the slack in the absence of Caulcrick, rushing for 79 yards on 10 carries. He did not play in the Spartans closer than expected opening win against Idaho and was hoping for a chance to get a few carries against Eastern.

"With Javon (Ringer) and Jehuu (Caulcrick) banged up coach had to count on me to step up. I don't mind being in that situation, I want to show everybody that I can play. I will take the ball any way I can get it, whether it is running or receiving. I take pride in being a versatile back who can do a little bit of everything."

Jimmerson found himself on the receiving end of a gadget play early in the second quarter. Receiver Matt Trannon, who broked the school's single-game receiving mark with 14 catches (breaking in the old mark of 13 held by Plaxico Burress against Florida), threw a 35-yard strike which the freshman hauled in for his first TD as a Spartan.

"Matt made a good throw. The play wasn't designed to go to me, but he just saw me open and took advantage of it," said Jimmerson.

Late in the fourth quarter, backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, hit the freshman on a flare route out of the backfield for a four-yard score.

"I didn't expect my first few touchdowns to be receiving, but that's just the way it worked out."

EXTRA POINTS: Senior quarterback Drew Stanton went over the 5,000-yard mark passing when he hit Trannon on a 17-yard scoring strike. Stanton finished the game with 254 yards passing giving him 5, 196 for his career.

Otis Wiley continues his strong play, leading the team in tackles for the second straight week with eight stops and two tackles for loss.

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