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Charge Against S.Carolina QB Dropped

September 15, 2006

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ An assault charge against South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell was dropped Friday when a bouncer withdrew a complaint after first telling police the player punched him.

Mitchell was arrested on a simple assault charge and was suspended from the team Wednesday. However, after he pleaded not guilty Friday, bouncer Kylan Ertzberger told the judge he will not pursue the charge. He said he had not been threatened or forced into his decision.

A manager at the bar asked the judge to ban Mitchell from the establishment, and the judge agreed.

Neither Mitchell nor Ertzberger spoke to reporters after the hearing. Ertzberger is a 19-year-old sophomore at the university, the school said.

South Carolina spokesman Steve Fink had no immediate word how the hearing affected Mitchell’s status with the team.

Coach Steve Spurrier said before the fight he hadn’t planned to use Mitchell much in Saturday night’s game with Wofford _ partly because of a lingering hand injury and also because of the Gamecocks’ poor offensive performance the first two games. Spurrier said Syvelle Newton would start.

The team is ranked 99th nationally on offense of 119 NCAA Division I-A teams. Mitchell had completed almost 64 percent of his passes in the win at Mississippi State and loss against Georgia, but he hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass.

The coach said Mitchell spoke to him Wednesday about what happened, but Spurrier wanted to wait for the legal situation to be resolved before deciding on any further punishments.

``It was sort of shock to a lot of us that I’ve never seen Blake angry yet,″ Spurrier said Thursday night. ``He’s had a lot of reasons to be angry the way the our line has opened the gates on him at time.″

But Spurrier insisted football players must remain in control off the field.

``You can’t fight as college football players, you can’t do it,″ he said. ``Obviously, they pushed Blake over the edge, I guess.″

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