Clay Helton: Chuma Edoga's early ejection constituted 1-game ban

ByKyle Bonagura ESPN logo
Monday, September 12, 2016

USCsophomore left tackle Chuma Edoga, who was ejected during the Trojans' 45-7 win against Utah Stateon Saturday after making physical contact with an official, will not face an additional suspension, coach Clay Helton announced Sunday.

"We've had the opportunity to talk to the Pac-12, and his ejection in the first series of the game constituted a full game for the player," Helton said. "No additional discipline was needed by the conference. Internally, from our standpoint, Chuma will be demoted from his starting role."

While Edoga started the first two games of the year for USC, he did so because projected starter Chad Wheeler, a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2015, was slowed throughout training camp with plantar fasciitis. Wheeler was expected to regain his starting role eventually, but it is unclear if Edoga's actions expedited that process.

Edoga's ejection came after it appeared he pushed an official, who was attempting to restrain him from chasing after a Utah State player. Before this occurred, Edoga was pushed to the ground following a sack of USC quarterback Max Browne, and he first retaliated by throwing a punch but was then pulled away from the exchange by umpire Rick DiBernardo.

"Obviously a poor decision by a young person -- that's not what we intended or what we represent. Just a young person making an emotional decision," Helton said. "I had a chance to talk to Chuma, and he was embarrassed by it and it doesn't reflect who he is. He got caught up in the moment and got overly emotional and made a poor decision."

His ejection marked the second consecutive week in which a USC player was ejected in the first half of a game after failing to maintain his composure. The previous week against Alabama, linebacker Jabari Ruffin was ejected after stomping on the groin of the Tide's Minkah Fitzpatrick. Ruffin sat out the first half against Utah State and was forced to write a letter of apology.

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