By The Associated Press
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas freshman Marquel Wade apologized Monday for hitting Vanderbilt punt returner Jonathan Krause early, a crushing tackle that led to Wade’s ejection Saturday.
Wade has not been suspended for the hit, which occurred during the third quarter of the No. 8 Razorbacks 31-28 win over the Commodores. The wide receiver, playing on special teams, said he thought Krause had the ball when he ran through the returner.
“I was just going out there doing 100 percent, trying to play my game and I messed up,” Wade said. “I take all the (responsibility) for everything I did.”
Krause lay on the field for several minutes following the hit and Wade was flagged for a personal foul. Vanderbilt’s Kenny Ladler picked up the ball and returned it 24 yards for the Commodores, so the penalty was declined.
Wade immediately celebrated his hit on the field before returning to the Arkansas sideline. After his ejection, Wade became animated on the sideline and had to be escorted off the field by strength and conditioning coach Jason Veltkamp.
“I really want to just apologize for any embarrassment I did for the fans, also for the organization,” Wade said. “Any situation that I get into, whatever they say goes. I got to just take what I did and go with it, just to the future.”
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said the coaching staff would evaluate its teaching methods following the hit, in order to make sure players are looking up to see if a returner has the ball or not. Still, he wasn’t pleased with Wade’s sideline reaction afterward.
“We have to makes sure we address what goes on after the situation,” Petrino said. “That’s the thing that I didn’t like.”
Vanderbilt coach James Franklin said Monday that he was proud of Krause’s toughness he showed in returning to the game after the hit — even fielding another punt later.
“It’s another thing to come back in the game and the ball’s punted, and you go back and do that job again and you trust that the guys are going to do their job and protect you,” Franklin said. “And you just have the toughness that ‘I’m not going to start peeking.’
“… That was a legitimate shot he took. I made sure our team understood that.”
Franklin also said he felt like the officials handled the penalty and ejection as they were supposed to.
“Besides that, I really don’t have a whole lot more to comment.”
AP Sports Writer Teresa Walker in Nashville, Tenn., contributed to this report.