SEC suspends Gamecocks’ Swearinger for helmet hit

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The SEC has suspended South Carolina free safety D.J. Swearinger for a game after his hit on a defenseless UAB receiver.

The Southeastern Conference’s decision Monday means Swearinger will miss the seventh-ranked Gamecocks’ game this weekend against Missouri.

A personal foul was called against Swearinger after he launched into UAB’s Patrick Hearn while breaking up a pass in the third quarter Saturday. The side of Swearinger’s helmet crashed into Hearn’s facemask. Both players stayed in the game.

On Sunday, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said a Vanderbilt player was given a 15-yard penalty but no suspension for a similar hit against Gamecocks tight end Justice Cunningham.

Spurrier says the NCAA should also protect quarterbacks after they release a pass. Gamecocks QB Connor Shaw was knocked out of the UAB game.