- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Illinois has suspended starting linebacker Jonathan Brown one game for kneeing a Northwestern player in the groin on Saturday.
Brown, who is the second-leading tackler for the No. 19 Illini, was flagged for a personal foul in the first half of Saturday's 38-35 win when he kneed lineman Patrick Ward in the groin well after the play was over. He will not play this week at Indiana.
"We are extremely disappointed by what happened on Saturday and Jonathan knows that," Illinois coach Ron Zook said in a statement. "We don't condone that type of behavior in our program. I've talked to Jonathan and he understands that. He is a good person, a spiritual person, and no one feels worse about it than him. But he got caught up in the moment, made a serious mistake and must deal with the consequences."
Brown issued an apology through school officials.
"I apologize to my family, my teammates and the Illinois fans for letting them down," Brown said in a statement. "I also would like to apologize to the Northwestern team for my actions. What I did was out of character and won't happen again."
The Big Ten supported Illinois' suspension and publicly reprimanded Brown for his actions.
Brown is tied for second on the Illini with 30 tackles. He also has six tackles for loss and two sacks. He was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week following Illinois' win over Arizona State.
Brian Bennett covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. Information from ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers was used in this report.