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Questions linger about Michigan State’s ‘injuries’

[ 14 ] November 16, 2011 |

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Let’s say something happens during Saturday’s Iowa-Purdue football game that calls for the Hawkeyes to stop the clock. They’re out of timeouts, and a spiked pass won’t do the trick.

The Hawkeyes’ playbook is filled with slant routes for receiver Marvin McNutt, through-the-line rushes by tailback Marcus Coker, nickel defenses and, yes, there’s even a page or two devoted to blitzing the quarterback.

But feigning injury for the purpose of catching your breath?

“Won’t happen,” defensive end Broderick Binns said Tuesday. “We have more respect for the game than that. It’s just not something we’re taught to do here. We’re taught to get up and play the next play, no matter what happens.”

Whether that’s the situation at other schools is debatable. Some questioned Michigan State’s injury-related clock-stoppings while Iowa attempted to rally Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.

At least five Spartan players left the game for injuries in the third and fourth quarters of a game Michigan State won 37-21. At least two returned after sitting out just one play.

“Believe it or not, they were legitimate injuries,” Spartan coach Mark Dantonio said on the Big Ten Conference teleconference Tuesday.

Iowa fans booed when Michigan State’s clock-stopping became a trend. Hawkeye players wondered.

“They seemed like they were just falling down. It looked suspicious,” cornerback Micah Hyde said. “We had some momentum, and they wanted to stop the clock so they could get their rest, but that has nothing to do with the game.”

At least one Michigan State player didn’t deny what happened.

“When the offense is moving like that, the smart move is to go down and just take your time and don’t kind of rush through it, and that’s what we did,” defensive tackle Jerel Worthy told the Lansing State Journal after the game.

“I think everybody noticed. Iowa fans don’t like it. They’re a rowdy crowd, but you’ve got to have fun with it. I had fun with it. I got a lot of heckling, but it just adds fuel to the fire.”

Scott Chipman, the Big Ten’s assistant commissioner for communications, said in an email that the conference is not looking into the situation.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday that he has a tape of the game, but asking the conference to investigate isn’t likely.

“I’ve got it on my desk, but I’m not planning to send it in,” said Ferentz, whose team tries to rebound during Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Purdue. “What good would it do?

“It’s really a complex issue, and it didn’t decide the game, but I know it’s been talked about. It’s kind of like a concussion – how bad is a concussion and who makes that determination? At the end of the day, it really didn’t impact the game, but it’s one of those — I don’t want to call it a hot topic, but it’s out there for sure.”

There is no NCAA rule against faking an injury, although the college football rulebook states:

“Feigning an injury for any reason is unethical. An injured player must be given full protection under the rules, but feigning injury is dishonest, unsportsmanlike and contrary to the spirit of the rules. Such tactics cannot be tolerated among sportsmen of integrity.”

Longtime college official Robert Holliday said players are given the benefit of the doubt.

“If someone is injured or appears to be injured, you want to stop it right now,” he said. “Period. No discretion.

“About the time you don’t stop it and they’re hurt … you don’t ever want that situation to happen.”


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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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