Mississippi State suspended senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald for Saturday’s season opener for a violation of team policy, head coach Joe Moorhead announced Monday.
Moorhead did not specify what the violation was, offering only that it happened in the spring. He added that Fitzgerald has been a “great leader and great teammate” since the incident, and that the quarterback has been elected a team captain.
Sophomore Keytaon Thompson will start the opener against Stephen F. Austin. Thompson saw action in 10 games last season and passed for 388 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, while also rushing for 446 yards and six scores.
Thompson filled in as the starter after Fitzgerald’s injury and had a productive outing in the TaxSlayer Bowl victory over Louisville. He rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns while passing for 127.
Fitzgerald is returning from a dislocated right ankle suffered in November. He will miss the team’s opener before being available to return Sept. 8 for a game against Kansas State.
The senior has passed for 4,440 yards and 39 touchdowns against 21 interceptions in 32 games at Mississippi State. He also has rushed for 2,486 yards and 33 touchdowns.
Also, senior defensive tackle Cory Thomas was suspended for the Stephen F. Austin game.
—Field Level Media