COLUMBUS - In the wake of great success for the Ohio State football team's defense following two straight shutouts for the first time since 1996, the Buckeyes got some bad news Monday.
Senior captain and safety Kurt Coleman has been suspended for Ohio State's game at Indiana Saturday, the Big Ten Announced Monday.
The decision came following a late hit delivered in the fourth quarter by Coleman which also included some helmet-to-helmet contact.
Coleman, who is one of Ohio State's most relied on leaders, delivered the hit with 37 seconds remaining in the game to Illinois backup quarterback Eddie McGee.
"Obviously, we will abide by the one-game suspension from the Big Ten Conference, but we feel as if there was poor judgment throughout," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel and athletic director Gene Smith said in a collaborative statement. "We concur that Kurt's hit was late and a result of poor judgment; he was thus penalized and removed from the game by his coaches. We do not agree that it was 'pre-meditated' or that he was 'targeting a defenseless' player.
"The decision to suspend points to the Conference office's feeling as if there was poor judgment by the game officials for their decision not to eject at the time. In our estimation, the final 'poor judgment' is in levying a one-game suspension in this particular case. We will abide by the decision, learn from it, and move forward."
As McGee was being slowed down by defenders, Coleman left his feet en route to delivering the hit, perhaps the reason the Big Ten brought forth a suspension.
It has yet to be announced who will replace Coleman, but the natural inclination is to believe that the two starting safeties against the Hoosiers will be Jermale Hines and Anderson Russell.
For depth purposes the Buckeyes may need to throw some youngsters in such as Orhian Johnson to help fill the position.
Coleman's suspension wasn't an immediate decision but rather something that was handed down after the Big Ten Conference reviewed the tape on Monday.
Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.