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Penn State Suspends Player for Hit of Maryland Quarterback

Defensive lineman Fred Hansard will miss the first half against Michigan after hitting Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa on the sideline.

Penn State defensive lineman Fred Hansard has been suspended for the first half of Saturday's game against Michigan after hitting Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa on the sideline last week. Coach James Franklin announced his decision Tuesday. 

Hansard, who was not in the game at the time, hit Tagovailoa while standing on the sideline. The FS1 cameras captured and replayed the incident, though a penalty was not assessed.

Hansard on Monday apologized, calling it an "act of impulse, and not malice."

"I would like to extend my sincere apologies for the unfortunate incident that took place on the sideline on Saturday," Hansard wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. "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."

Hansard also apologized to teammate Rasheed Walker, the starting left tackle who wears jersey No. 53 as well. Some people on social media mistakenly identified Walker as the player who hit Tagovailoa.

Penn State coach James Franklin said Tuesday that the Big Ten had contacted him about a response. Franklin said that Hansard would be suspended for the first half against Michigan.

Franklin also said that he did not know about the incident during the game.

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"I saw the clip, and obviously the optics of it don't look great," Franklin said at his weekly press conference. "But I do want to say this: Fred Hansard has been here for four years. He has been a model citizen and a model student-athlete. He's a super impressive young man who is going to go on and do great things. He's got a great mom and dad.

"So, just like in his statement that he put out, I know the optics of it don't look great, but I don't think Fred had any intentions to do anything to hurt another player. I think it was a reaction, but at the end of the day it's not a look good."

Hansard, a redshirt senior, has played in five games this season, including at Maryland. He has been a rotational player on Penn State's defensive line since sustaining a season-ending injury early in 2018, when he made his only career start.

Penn State hosts Michigan at noon Saturday. ABC will televise.

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