Sophomore linebacker will sit vs. Indiana after flagged for kneeing Northwestern player in groin.


Illinois sophomore linebacker Jonathan Brown will sit with a one-game suspension announced by the university Monday after he was penalized for kneeing a Northwestern lineman in the groin.

Brown, who will practice with the Illini this week, won't play when No. 19 Illinois (5-0 overall, 1-0 in the Big Ten) hits the road for the first time this season for a game at struggling Indiana (1-4, 0-1) Saturday (1:30 p.m., BTN).

"He's not the image that's being portrayed,'' said defensive coordinator Vic Koenning.

Coach Ron Zook wouldn't elaborate further following practice Monday at Memorial Stadium.

"We are extremely disappointed by what happened on Saturday, and Jonathan knows that,'' Zook said in a news release earlier in the day. "We don't condone that type of behavior in our program. I've talked to Jonathan, and he understands that. He is a good person, a spiritual person, and no one feels worse about it than him.

"But he got caught up in the moment, made a serious mistake and must deal with the consequences.''

Unavilable to the media, Brown also made a statement through the university.

"I apologize to my family, my teammates and the Illinois fans for letting them down,'' Brown said. "I also would like to apologize to the Northwestern team for my actions. What I did was out of character and won't happen again.''

Brown started four games for the Illini this season. He is tied for second on the team with 30 tackles, including 6.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.

Brown was called for unsportsmanlike conduct but not thrown out of the game. Earlier, he was flagged for a late hit on Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa.

Redshirt freshman Houston Bates, who started one game this season, will replace Brown in the starting lineup. Freshmen Ralph Cooper and Henry Dickinson will move up in the depth chart. Koenning searched for a fifth linebacker. Strongside linebacker Ashante Williams logged roughly a dozen plays against Northwestern after getting four the previous week in his first game back from a suspension following a DUI arrest.

-- Illini receiver A.J. Jenkins was named co-offensive player of the week in the Big Ten Monday after setting a school record with 268 yards receiving on 12 catches against Northwestern. His receiving total is the third best in a Big Ten game and fourth best all-time among Big Ten players.

Jenkins shared the award with Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson, who threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a TD against Nebraska.

-- Illinois will host Ohio State on Oct. 15 in a 2:30 p.m. game televised by ABC. Time and TV were announced Monday.

John Supinie can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JohnSupinie.