SAN MARCOS, Texas — Louisiana-Lafayette senior Christian Ringo is a big believer in how you practice determines how you will play during a game.
But even Ringo was in shock that a scoop and score during practice this week would lead to the first touchdown of his football career.
The defensive lineman returned a fumble 41 yards for a touchdown, sparking a dominant 34-10 victory by the Ragin’ Cajuns over the Texas State Bobcats on Tuesday night.
“That’s a rare play,” Ringo said. “I guess I was at the right place at the right time. I’m kind of still in shock from it. I think when I scooped it; I just tried to run for my life.”
For a team that is dead last in the FBS in turnovers this season, the Ragin’ Cajuns’ second of the season was as huge as the player that produced it. Ringo’s run was the team’s first fumble recovery for a touchdown since 2012.
Cornerback Corey Trim added an interception late in the fourth quarter for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Trim had scored the team’s previous defensive touchdown on an 82-yard interception return in the New Orleans Bowl in December.
“It was big for our defense,” Cajuns quarterback Terrance Broadway said. “I told (defensive coordinator James) Willis before the game, if you get us two extra possessions, it’s going to be a big game for us offensively and defensively.”
It was especially big defensively.
After Trae Jackson sacked and stripped quarterback Tyler Jones in a single motion, Ringo showed great agility in scooping up the ball at his feet while on the run. Despite being 6-foot-1, 277 pounds, few in Bobcats Stadium saw Ringo’s recovery except for a few teammates on the field. Ringo burst from the pack and chugged into the end zone for his first career touchdown, giving Lousiana-Lafayette a 14-3 lead with 9 minutes left in the first half.
“Ringo is pretty fast,” Broadway said. “It’s kind of hard in spring during camp, and I’m in a blue jersey, so he’s always close to me. He moves well for a big guy. He has great hips, and he showed them tonight.”
It was Ringo’s third career fumble recovery, but he had never scored an official touchdown until Tuesday night.
“Actually I had a scoop and score at practice this week, and it translated into the game,” Ringo said. “If we keep ripping them, we are going to have more go our way.”
The defensive touchdown sparked the Cajuns, who drove 62 yards in four plays on their ensuing possession in just 80 seconds to extend their lead. Senior running back Alonzo Harris scored on a 1-yard run with 6 minutes remaining in the first half for a 21-3 advantage.
“(Ringo’s touchdown) was pretty big,” Cajuns running back Elijiah McGuire said. “It just so happened coach (Mark Hudspeth) was talking about starting a fire, and I think Ringo did a great job scooping up that ball. Credit goes to him. This is his last ride, so it’s always great to have a touchdown for your senior season.”
The Cajuns finished with 528 total yards, evenly distributed between 288 rushing and 240 passing. Broadway had 101 yards rushing on 19 carries and completed 14 of 21 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown.
But it was Ringo, playing before a national television audience on ESPN2, who continued to shine.
He leads defensive line with 17 tackles, including eight tackles for loss and five sacks through six games. Ringo had four tackles and two sacks on Tuesday night, giving him 12.5 career sacks and moving him within 1.5 sacks of joining the school’s top five.
The tackles for loss matched his career high set Sept. 20 against Boise State.
His play was a key reason the Ragin’ Cajuns shuttered an offense that was averaging 38.6 points and nearly 500 yards per game.
Texas State finished with 270 total yards and only 12 first downs. The Bobcats scoring was limited to a 20-yard field goal by Will Johnson 38 seconds into the second quarter and a 33-yard pass from Jones to Brice Gunter with 1 minute remaining.