October 16, 2015

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina cornerbacks M.J. Stewart and Mike Hughes face misdemeanor assault charges tied to an altercation near the Chapel Hill campus earlier this month.

Stewart, a sophomore who has started every game for the Tar Heels this season, turned himself in and was released on an unsecured bond Thursday night, according to an arrest report. The arrest warrant charges him with assault and battery for punching the victim ''several times in the face.''

Hughes, a freshman reserve, was arrested before being released on bond, according to police arrest reports. The arrest warrant charges him with assault inflicting serious injury for punching the victim and breaking his nose, knocking him unconscious and causing a concussion as well as lingering health issues.

UNC announced Thursday night the two were suspended indefinitely from all team-related activities for a violation of team rules, sidelining them from Saturday's game against Wake Forest. The school's release said it was connected to an Oct. 4 incident in Chapel Hill, while coach Larry Fedora's statement referenced an ''altercation'' and that UNC had worked with Chapel Hill police to gather information.

''We hold our players to a high standard, and M.J. and Mike will face the consequences for their involvement,'' Fedora said.

The altercation took place early Oct. 4 - less than a day after UNC had won at Georgia Tech in Atlanta for the first time since 1997 - at the address of a fraternity house, according to a police incident report. That report includes two victims who resided there, though each arrest warrant lists only one victim.

Hughes was scheduled to have a court appearance in Hillsborough on Friday afternoon, but the case was continued until Nov. 19. Stewart is due in court Oct. 22, according to the arrest report.

Butch Williams and Jonathan Trapp, two Durham-based attorneys representing Hughes, declined to comment when reached by phone Friday afternoon. It wasn't immediately known if Stewart has hired an attorney.

It is the second suspension that will sideline Stewart for a game; he was among four players to miss last year's opener related to an altercation with a walk-on during training camp.

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Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP's college football site at http://collegefootball.ap.org .

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