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Football: Wood suspended for two games

Observer Staff Report | Monday, August 27, 2012

Irish coach Brian Kelly announced Sunday that senior running back Cierre Wood has been suspended for Notre Dame’s first two games due to a violation of team rules. He will miss Saturday’s season opener against Navy in Dublin and Notre Dame’s home opener against Purdue on Sept. 8.

Junior defensive end Justin Utupo has also been suspended for two games due to a violation of team rules, Kelly said.

The news of the suspensions emerged less than a week before the Irish are set to open the 2012 season against Navy. The team’s flight departs Wednesday evening.

“Our players are aware of the standards I set for our program and that failure to meet my expectations will result in consequences,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “Justin and Cierre violated our team rules, so I’ve suspended them for the first two games of the season.”

Wood, an Oxnard, Calif., native, rushed for 1,102 yards on 217 carries and scored nine touchdowns in 2011 after compiling 603 yards on the ground as a sophomore in 2010. He was named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which is annually given to the top college football player.

After the graduation of Jonas Gray and with a first-time starter in Everett Golson at quarterback, Wood was expected to assume an even larger role for the Notre Dame offense in 2012. Senior Theo Riddick, sophomore George Atkinson and sophomore Amir Carlisle, who transferred from USC following last season, will be called upon to carry the load in Wood’s absence. Carlisle is currently sidelined while recovering from a broken ankle and is unlikely to play against Navy.

Wood was held out of the opening practice of fall camp due to medical paperwork issues, Kelly said. Wood has not been available to the media during fall practice.

The Irish will already be without junior quarterback Tommy Rees and senior linebacker Carlo Calabrese after one-game suspensions stemming from an arrest in May.

After not appearing in any games during the 2010 season, Utupo reached the field in 12 games in 2011.