Northern Illinois has suspended linebacker Antonio Jones-Davis for one game after he gouged the eyes of San Diego State Aztecs star running back Rashaad Penny during Saturday night's game in San Diego.
Jones-Davis will sit out this week's game against Kent State, NIU coach Rod Carey announced. The incident happened with 4 minutes, 12 seconds remaining in the first quarter, as Jones-Davis forced his right hand into Penny's facemask in a pile of players. No penalty was called, and Penny left the field with his hands over his eyes. He sat out several plays before returning.
No. 19 San Diego State won the game 34-28 to improve to 5-0.
"I just think that stuff shouldn't happen," Penny said. "I thought we were all more mature than that, but I bounced back."
Carey said in a statement that he reviewed video of the incident Sunday and discussed it with Jones-Davis.
"Antonio's action is not indicative of his character, nor that of our players or coaching staff, and does not reflect the values upon which our program has been built," Carey said in the statement. "Last night's game was extremely hard-fought, it was emotional and it was a chippy game which, at times, crossed the line on both sides, as evidenced by the number of post-play penalties. However, Antonio's action in that emotional moment was completely unacceptable, and he understands that he must face the consequences. "He has taken full responsibility for his actions and voiced to me his disappointment in himself that he embarrassed the university and the football program."
Carey said he and Jones-Davis will be contacting Penny and San Diego State coach Rocky Long to apologize.
Penny had 107 rushing yards on 25 carries in the game.