Michigan suspends WR Darryl Stonum

The University of Michigan football program has suspended wide receiver Darryl Stonum indefinitely following his arrest last Friday for suspicion of drunken driving.

The details of his suspension weren’t readily available when the team announced the decision over the weekend. Head coach Brady Hoke told the media on Saturday that Stonum made a “poor decision” and was being punished, but didn’t elaborate. It wasn’t until Sunday that the media found out that the wideout was arrested around 2:25AM on Friday on suspicion of operating a vehicle while under the influence.

The senior started 12 games as a junior last season for the now departed Rich Rodriguez. He ranked second on the team in receptions and receiving yards, and now has 76 career receptions to go along with 1,008 yards and six touchdowns.

Stonum has certainly put his new head coach in a tough spot. Hoke doesn’t want to come off as soft when it comes to Stonum’s punishment, but if he overacts to the situation then he may be criticized for that as well. Either way, he has to send a message to the rest of his players that this kind of behavior won’t be tolerated if the Wolverines are going to right the ship. Stonum decided to put himself in front of the team and now Hoke needs to correct that. He also needs his second-leading receiver, so it’s a tricky situation.

So far, Hoke has handled the situation correctly. He didn’t make Stonum’s arrest public knowledge and only gave the media what it needed to know: that he was suspended and the matter was being handled internally. Now he must decide how many games Stonum will miss in 2011, or even if the young man will have a roster spot when August rolls around.

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Michigan State needs to show more toughness

Michigan State fans will party in the streets tonight in East Lansing after Sparty knocked off rival Michigan in a thrilling 26-20 overtime victory. But sticking with one of their themes this season, MSU almost blew it after collapsing in the fourth quarter.

Thanks to a running game that racked up 197 yards on the ground, the Spartans controlled this game for three and a half quarters. But after building a 20-6 lead, Mark Dantonio’s team became complacent and showed their lack of killer mentality.

With four minutes remaining in the game, Wolverine freshman quarterback Tate Forcier flashed some of the magic that endeared him to fans a couple weeks ago in a win over Notre Dame. Forcier hit Darryl Stonum on a 60-yard touchdown pass to cut MSU’s lead to 20-13, then found Roy Roundtree in the end zone on a 9-yard TD pass with two seconds left to tie the game 20-20. Both touchdowns were aided by Sparty’s lackluster defensive effort.

On Stonum’s touchdown, the defender didn’t break down to tackle, he just ran by the receiver and put a hand out hoping that Stonum a stiff wind would knock him over. Then on the game-tying score, Forcier easily scrambled out of the pocket and found Roundtree, who was a step and a half away from all defenders, which is amazing considering it was a jam-packed end zone.

Not to take anything away from Forcier, because he toughed it out while playing banged up. And MSU’s defense did come up with a huge interception in overtime, which preceded Larry Caper’s 23-yard, game-winning touchdown run. But the Spartans should have never been in that position. A win is a win – I get it. And considering MSU lost three consecutive games coming into this matchup, this was a much-needed win.

But this isn’t the first time that Dantonio’s team took their foot off the gas when they had a victory wrapped up. In Week 2, they lost to Central Michigan in the final seconds when they should have won, then blew a great opportunity to beat Notre Dame in Week 3.

Michigan State has enough talent to be competitive in the Big Ten. But the Spartans need to show more mental toughness throughout games and learn to step on opponents’ throats in the fourth quarter or else they’ll continue to give away victories. (Or almost give away victories.)

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