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Football: Ringo breaks season sack record

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, December 21, 2014



UL Ragin’ Cajuns defensive lineman Christian Ringo (9) celebrates after sacking Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback Cody Fajardo (17) late in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl. (Photo: Leslie Westbrook/The Advertiser)



They stood on the green turf of the Superdome, one congratulating the other for a takedown about 20 years in the making.

The one doing the hugging was Jeff Mitchell, Louisiana state trooper and former Ragin’ Cajun sackmaster.

The one on the receiving end was Christian Ringo, UL senior defensive tackle and the man who had just broken one record shared by Mitchell and tied one held by the man with a gun.

Ringo didn’t leave much time to spare before finally doing it, either.

It happened when he brought down Nevada senior quarterback Cody Fajardo with about 17 seconds to go in UL’s 16-3 New Orleans Bowl win over the Wolf Pack on Saturday, on the second-to-last play of the Cajuns’ fourth straight victory in the same bowl.

The sack was number 11.5 on the season for Ringo, surpassing the old number of 11.0 shared by Mitchell and Conrad Lewis in 1993.

It also was the 21st of Ringo’s career, tying him with the 21 set by Mitchell from 1992-95.

"He did it. He did it," Mitchell shouted after the two embraced.

"I didn’t want him to leave New Orleans without the record," Mitchell added, "and I told him that all week."

Mitchell — now a personal protector for UL coach Mark Hudspeth at all home and road Cajun games — made it quite clear, too.

"It’s an honor," Ringo said.

"He (Mitchell) told me, ‘If you don’t get it, I’m gonna be talking to you all the way back to Lafayette.’ So, good thing I don’t have to hear him talk on the bus on the ride back."

After enjoying a stretch of three straight games with 3.0 tackles for loss including 2.0 sacks each, Ringo has been within reach of both records for more than a month now.

He was blanked while getting double-teamed extensively, however, in late-season games against Appalachian State and Troy.

That makes reaching the marks he did Saturday especially satisfying for Ringo, an NFL prospect who Hudspeth said has "worked awfully hard" to get what he has.

How did he finally break through?

"I (saw) the seconds ticking down," Ringo said after the conclusion of what he called a "dream season."

"I was like, ‘Man, I’m fixin’ to give everything I’ve got.’ And my guys up front did their job, and they came through. So I’m proud of them. And we got the W. I can’t ask for nothing more. That’s my Christmas right there.

"That’s God grace," Ringo added. "That’s all I can say. It’s all Him."