- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 5, 2009

A day after Oregon’s college football season opened, it ended for running back LeGarrette Blount.

Blount was suspended for all remaining games Friday for punching Boise State defensive end Byron Hout in the jaw after the 16th-ranked Ducks’ 19-8 loss to the 14th-ranked Broncos the night before in Idaho.

Because he is a senior, Blount’s playing days in Eugene are over.

Oregon’s first-year coach, Chip Kelly, told a sobbing Blount about his decision after reviewing tape of the altercation.

Celebrating the win on the Broncos’ trademark blue turf, Hout yelled in Blount’s face and tapped him on the shoulder pad. Before Boise State coach Chris Petersen could pull Hout away, Blount landed a right to Hout’s jaw, knocking him to his knees.

Blount also had to be restrained by police from fans heckling him on the way to the locker room.

Later he apologized, saying: “It was just something that I shouldn’t have done. I lost my head.”

Still, Kelly was taken aback when he saw the punch on tape.

“That’s not what we’re all about. That’s not what we coach. That’s not what we stand for, and it’s unacceptable,” he said.

Blount’s suspension includes bowl games. He will remain on scholarship, however, and will continue to practice with the team. Blount rushed for 1,002 yards and a school-record 17 touchdowns last season.

“He is taking this very hard,” Kelly said, choking up. “He understands he made a mistake and he has to pay for the mistake. But we’re not going to throw LeGarrette Blount out on the street.”

Kelly said he hoped Blount’s ultimate legacy “won’t be a YouTube clip of what happened to him on Sept. 3 in Boise, Idaho.”

Hout won’t be suspended for taunting Blount. Boise State spokesman Max Corbet told the Associated Press in an e-mail that Petersen planned to spend time with Hout this week to help him learn from what happened.

Mike Bellotti, who stepped aside as coach to become Oregon’s athletic director this summer, said the Pac-10 was consulted about the punishment and supported Oregon’s decision.

Bellotti was with Kelly when Blount was told of the suspension and described the running back’s reaction as dismay.

“It was a very difficult decision and one I don’t think he was expecting, but he was aware there was a certain amount of gravity to the situation,” Bellotti said.

MEMPHIS: The school filed notice of its intent to appeal the NCAA’s ruling forcing the school to vacate all 38 wins from the Tigers’ historic 2007-08 season, which ended in the national championship game.

Memphis officials are upset the NCAA clearinghouse cleared a player believed to be NBA star Derrick Rose to play. The committee on infractions later ruled the player ineligible after a testing service invalidated his SAT score, prompting the penalties.

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