ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Taylor Lewan lost his cool and let his emotions take the best of him.
Lewan was flagged for an unsportsmanlike penalty and was shown twisting Michigan State safety Isaiah Lewis’ face mask in Saturdays 29-6 loss at Michigan State.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke talked to Lewan about actions on Sunday, and the Michigan captain came prepared to apologize to the media today.
“He talked to me and told me I am representing a 133 years of Michigan football,” Lewan said. “Being the 134th captain of this team. It’s a big deal. At the time, my thought process wasn’t to play dirty. Try to do this because they’re our rivals. It really came down to -- I am trying to protect Devin Gardner. And being sacked seven times and a bunch of guys in the pile a bunch, his head was exposed at the time. I’m not trying to make any excuses for it, absolutely not. What I did was wrong. But I was just trying to protect my guys.
“There is always a different way to go about it. I should have gone about it a different way. But I can’t take it back now."
The play is rumored to be under review by the Big Ten for a possible suspension. However, Hoke has no plans of suspending Lewan at this time.
“If I think he should have been suspended, I would have done it,” Hoke said.
The Michigan offense was dominated by the Spartan defense. The Wolverines rushed for minus-48 yards rushing and gave up seven sacks.
“It’s tough at times definitely when you’re in a huge rivalry game like Michigan-Michigan State,” Lewan said. “It’s like a state championship game. And if you’re referring to things I was doing during the game, a couple of those face mask deal were on accident. That’s just my hand, I’m tall, I’m 6-7. It’s tough. But on a couple of those were pretty blatant. You know, I apologize for that. There is different ways to go about it. I lost my composure for a second. It’s not okay to do it. That’s not representing the University of Michigan the way it should be. It’s not taking pride in the rivalry that we have Michigan State. You got to give it to them, they won. They beat us fair and square. Was I upset about that? Absolutely. That’s my last shot at Michigan State and for the rest of my life, my senior I would have lost to – State. And that’s tough.”
Hoke was asked to give his assessment on Lewan’s actions, and replied: “My assessment was is it’s not what we want to portray or be. And him and I have had a discussion regarding that. It’s not who we are.”
As far as an apology to Lewis, Lewan said was unable to find him after the game and would have apologized if he could have.
“Yeah, I looked,” Lewan said. “I would of absolutely apologized to him. I think he would agree with me that it’s a heat of a rivalry game.
“That’s not who I am. That’s not the kind of person I am when I am off the field. Game is over. I’m off the field in my own mind. So go out there, they won, they beat us. Shake their hands. It stung, like it should. But you got to give them credit.”