Expects to play Saturday vs. Purdue

Updated: October 13, 2003, 6:44 PM ET
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis.-- Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi may have someone else barking out the signals for him in practice this week.

But he declared himself physically OK otherwise Monday after Ohio State linebacker Robert Reynolds jammed his fingers into his neck and choked him Saturday, knocking him out of the Badgers' 17-10 win over the Buckeyes.

Ohio State suspended Reynolds for this week's game against No. 9 Iowa for the infraction. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Reynolds' actions "have no place in our game."

Sorgi said he accepted Reynolds' apology when he called Sunday night, and he's not holding any grudges.

"I know how things get during the game, and I know how things can happen," he said. "He made a mistake. It's a sign of a man when you can make a mistake like that and call and apologize for it."

Reynolds was not penalized on the play that came on the end of an 8-yard scramble by Sorgi. Replays showed Reynolds reaching down while Sorgi was on his back and using his right hand to put a choke hold on him.

Sorgi said he had difficulty talking and breathing after the play. He said he couldn't bark out the signals loud enough to be heard by the other players, keeping him from going back into the game.

Backup quarterback Matt Schabert relieved him and threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans to win the game.

Sorgi said he expects to practice this week and play Saturday when the Badgers (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP) host Purdue (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP), the second of five games the Badgers have against a ranked opponent.

Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez got an apology from Reynolds as well and Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.

Alvarez began his weekly news conference Monday by fielding a series of questions about the incident. But he cut them off after a several minutes, refusing to speculate about whether Reynolds should face legal action for the incident.

He said the Badgers need to put the game behind them and begin preparing for Purdue. Outside of having someone else handle the snap count during practice this week to give Sorgi's voice a rest, Alvarez said he didn't expect any lingering effects on his quarterback.

Tressel said Monday he had informed Alvarez of his decision to suspend Reynolds and again apologized to Sorgi.

"There's no doubt in my mind that Jim Tressel and his staff do not coach that type of football, do not coach that," Alvarez said. "They're a class operation. They have integrity. They won a championship last year by doing things the right way."

The play was shown several times on highlight shows following the game and got the attention of other players around the league.

Michigan offensive tackle Tony Pape called it a "dumb mistake."

"It's terrible. There's an understanding between players. Even in the greatest rivalry, you don't intend to injury somebody," said Pape. "If I was the quarterback, I'd press charges. That's assault."


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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