Kelcy Quarles suspended for punch

Updated: October 19, 2012, 2:41 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles has been suspended for Saturday's game against Florida (No. 2 BCS, No. 3 AP) after he threw a punch during last week's loss at LSU.

Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said after practice Thursday that Quarles would not travel with the team as part of his penalty.

Quarles was unlikely to play this week anyway since he hadn't practiced because of a shoulder injury.

Quarles was caught on a YouTube.com video throwing a punch at LSU center P.J. Lonergan after a play.

Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said he doesn't condone such actions. However, he said Quarles took a hit from behind that Spurrier described as a "sucker blow" earlier on the play that caused his shoulder injury.

"I guess you could call it a punch," Spurrier said Wednesday. "I've seen bigger punches, but he did throw (one) at him. I don't know if the LSU guy even knew he threw it, but I saw it. We don't condone that."

Quarles has started all seven games this year and has 30 tackles and 2½ sacks for the Gamecocks (No. 7 BCS, No. 9 AP).

The incident occurred on LSU's first offensive possession of the Tigers' 23-21 victory. Lonergan blocked Quarles to the ground, then Quarles rolled over on Lonergan.

Quarles stood up and punched Lonergan, who was lying on the ground, in the facemask.

There was no penalty called on the play. SEC spokesman Charles Bloom previously said the NCAA requires conference review after specific fouls.

"The SEC has been diligent in reviewing plays that by rule involve the initiation of contact and targeting defenseless opponents to the head and neck area," Bloom said in a statement on the SEC's behalf. "The conference maintains constant communication with head coaches on matters of penalty violations during the season.

"In the first instance discipline for violations involving non-NCAA-required automatic conference review are to be handled by the institution subject to the approval of the league office."

Based on SEC rules, any penalty -- from no punishment to a suspension -- was to be decided by South Carolina subject to the league's approval, Bloom said.

Information from ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy and Chris Low and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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