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Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: September 1, 12:12 PM ET
Michigan suspends 2 for Bama game

By Chantel Jennings
WolverineNation

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Friday that both starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and backup defensive end Frank Clark had been suspended for one game and would not make the trip to Dallas for the No. 8 Wolverines' season opener against second-ranked Alabama.

"The decision was not easy, but I feel it is in the best interest of this program and for these kids, and those always will be my priorities," Hoke said. "We have choices every day, and you have to be accountable to this program, your teammates, your family and the University of Michigan."

Toussaint rushed for 1,041 yards and nine touchdowns last season. On Tuesday, the redshirt junior pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of operating a vehicle while visually impaired after having been charged in late July for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. That night, Toussaint had a 0.12 blood-alcohol level, .04 over the legal limit in Michigan.

Clark, a sophomore who was fighting for a starting spot at rush end, was charged in July with second-degree home invasion, a felony. He has yet to be arraigned.

Both have been practicing with the team after sitting out the first part of Michigan's fall camp. On the depth chart for the game against Alabama, which was released Monday, Toussaint was listed as the starting running back and Clark was listed as the backup at rush end behind junior Jibreel Black.

"These are our sons," Hoke said. "These are real lives, and I think too often many people forget that. It's not always just about football, or a football decision. It's about teaching life lessons, and if this helps these kids or someone else make a right decision later, then we've won. That is ultimately what we are here for, to help them grow and mature to become better sons, fathers, husbands and members of society.

"They are good young men who made poor choices, and we will continue to support them as members of our team and family."

The Wolverines will likely use running backs Thomas Rawls, Vincent Smith, Justice Hayes perhaps along with newcomers Dennis Norfleet and Drake Johnson against the defending national champion Crimson Tide.

Clark's next court date is Sept. 11, three days after the home opener against Air Force. He closed his freshman season with a season-high five tackles and an interception in the Allstate Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech, putting him in a position to earn playing time on a depleted defensive line this year.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.