COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF | MSU vs. UM
Javon Ringer is tired of Michigan State always being considered the "little brothers" of Michigan, and after missing last year's game against the Wolverines with a knee injury, he can't wait to play on Saturday.
"As much talking as I could do is nothing compared to showing it out on the field, they could talk all day but we are just going to have to prove it out there," said Ringer. "The game is right around the corner and we're all really anticipating this game a lot and we feel that winning this game could probably change our season. All of our focus is on Michigan, and there are no others game that matter this week."
The team with the most rushing yards for the game has won 35 of the last 37 meeting between the two foes, and both teams have strong running attacks.
Mike Hart is the leading rusher in the Big Ten (154 yards per game) while Ringer is third (120.4 yards per game). Jehuu Caulcrick has scored the most touchdowns (16) in the Big Ten; Hart is second (12).
The Spartans carry the second best rushing offense in the Big Ten with 213 yards on the ground per game. Michigan is fourth with 203 yards per game.
On top of that, the Spartans are the only Big Ten team to feature two players ranked among the league's top 10 rushers: Ringer is third and Caulcrick tenth.
"In order for us to win we're going to have to establish the run, I feel like the team that wins is going to be the team that has the most rushing yards," said Ringer.
There will be extra motivation for Ringer on Saturday not only because it is a rivalry game but because Ringer missed last year's 31-13 Michigan rout at the Big House with a torn ACL.
Missing a huge part of their running attack really hurt the Spartans last year and with a healthy and much improved Ringer this time, the Spartans will be counting on him to run the ball with authority.
"I'm really looking forward to it, I missed it last year so I am really looking forward to going out there on Saturday. I've been hearing all the stories since freshman year about the past games and just the competitiveness of this rivalry is something I really enjoy," said Ringer.
On Saturday, both teams will be looking to establish the run game, so it will be a battle of Mike Hart against Javon Ringer in a track meet to see which defense can contain them.
Although they will get their yardage, MSU's overall stats on offense in the Big Ten rank higher than Michigan's, but the only difference being, Michigan was able to close their games strong while the Spartans let the ball drop late in games.
One thing is for sure though, in a game with such high magnitude and importance, should one of these teams get a lead, they will defend it and look to build on it immediately before it vanishes.
Should MSU get on top, they must keep pushing and never let up, because it is one thing to let a lead slip away against Iowa, but a whole different thing is MSU allows their hated rival, about to play each other for the 100th game, get back in the game.
How long are we going to continue to bow to the University of Michigan? How's that? But we'll find…