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Penn State’s Fred Hansard suspended for shoving Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa on sideline

A late hit on Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa in Saturday’s game in College Park has led to a suspension.

Penn State defensive lineman Fred Hansard has been suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game against No. 6 Michigan after shoving Tagovailoa to the ground on the sideline during a 31-14 win over the Terps last week.

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“The optics of it don’t look great. I do wanna say this: Fred Hansard has been here for 4 years. He’s been a model citizen,” Nittany Lions coach James Franklin told local reporters when announcing his decision Tuesday.

With the Terps facing a first-and-10 on the Nittany Lions’ 36-yard line trailing 7-6 early in the second half, Tagovailoa escaped the pocket, rolled right and threw an incomplete pass down the sideline as he sprinted out of bounds. While trying to slow down, Tagovailoa was shoved the ground by Penn State reserve defensive tackle Fred Hansard, who was standing on the sideline with his teammates. Safety Keaton Ellis then came over and tried to help Tagovailoa up.

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There was no flag on the play.

The junior quarterback, the brother of former Alabama star and current Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, was slow to get up and was forced to sit out one play in favor of backup Reece Udinski, who threw an incomplete pass. Tagovailoa returned and threw an incomplete pass on third-and-10, and Maryland punted with 12:34 remaining in the third quarter.

Terps coach Mike Locksley said after a 31-14 loss that he didn’t see the incident, but that his coaches upstairs in the booth “thought it was probably a play that should have been penalized.” Locksley said the team might be in contact with the Big Ten Conference office about the no-call.

“We’ll take the necessary measures to turn it in if it was [objectionable],” he said.

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Hansard was initially identified on the Fox Sports 1 broadcast as Penn State starting left tackle Rasheed Walker, who also wears No. 53. Hansard, a redshirt senior defensive tackle, remained in the game.

Tagovailoa, who finished 41-for-57 for 371 yards, one touchdown and an interception that was returned for a score, said his head was “buzzing” after he fell the ground.

“I just got knocked down,” he said. “I thought they were going to call a penalty but stuff like that happens.”

Hansard later apologized in a written statement posted to Twitter.

“I would like to extend my sincere apologies for the unfortunate incident that took place on the sideline on Saturday. It was truly an act of impulse, and not malice. I did not and would not try to intentionally try to hurt another player. I believe in the integrity and the rules of the game.”

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