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Published: Monday, 11/4/2013

UM WOLVERINE FOOTBALL

UM’s Hoke says Lewan’s actions unacceptable; Big Ten reviewing

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Lewan Lewan
HANDOUT NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

ANN ARBOR — Two days after left tackle Taylor Lewan was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for twisting an opponent’s face mask, the Michigan football captain showed contrition for his actions.

During the first half of the Wolverines’ 29-6 loss at No. 18 Michigan State, Lewan twisted the cage of Spartans safety Isaiah Lewis as he was on the ground after the whistle had blown on the play.

ESPN.com reported Monday that the Big Ten Conference is reviewing the incident.

“About a suspension, I can’t control that anymore,” said Lewan, whose team hosts Nebraska (6-2, 3-1) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. “At the time, I was trying to protect my teammates and protect Devin [Gardner], and obviously, I could have done it way different. If I could go back and do it differently, I absolutely would. And that’s all I can say about that.”

Lewan held Lewis back from a scrum as Gardner was taken down, and pulled on Lewis’ face mask as the safety was prone on the field, a few feet away from Gardner. Lewan said he sought out Lewis after the loss to apologize, but did not see the senior safety.

“A couple of those face mask deals were by accident, and that’s just my hand,” Lewan said. “I’m tall. I’m 6-foot-7. It’s tough. But a couple of those were very blatant, and I apologize for that. There’s different ways to go about it.

“I lost my composure for a second. That’s not OK to do.”

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was asked Sunday if he planned to send film of the incident to the Big Ten.

“I'm sure if there [are] incidents, that the Big Ten office will look at those things and make those decisions,” Dantonio said. “I'm not going to make any decisions there. Obviously people are talking about things, but I'll let other people handle those things.”

In 2011, Lewan was on the receiving end of another notable incident in the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry. After Lewan pushed Michigan State defensive end William Gholston into the ground, Gholston responded by punching Lewan in the throat and was suspended by the Big Ten for one game. Lewan would not comment on the two-year-old instance.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said he spoke Sunday to Lewan about the incident and labeled the fifth-year senior’s actions as “not acceptable.”

“It’s not what we want to portray and be,” Hoke said. “Him and I have had a discussion regarding that. It’s not who we are. If I think he should be suspended, I’d have already done it.”

BACKING BRADY: Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told the Associated Press that he has given a vote of confidence to Hoke, two days after the loss at MSU, the Wolverines’ fifth loss in six seasons to the Spartans.

“I think that’s always nice, that you have people who you work with, that are positive,” Hoke said.

GAME TIME: The Big Ten announced Michigan will face Northwestern at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 16 in Evanston, Ill. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the game.

Contact Rachel Lenzi at: rlenzi@theblade.com, 419-724-6510, or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.



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