Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2023

ISU’s Johnson issues apology for Saturday antics

Iowa State freshman defensive back Leonard Johnson - who was ejected in the first quarter of Saturday's 34-31 UNLV overtime victory over the Cyclones - issued an apology for his repeated antics in the first quarter.

“I want to apologize to the UNLV coaches, players and fans for my conduct during our game Saturday," Johnson said. "I take full responsibility for my actions. I take full responsibility for the consequences of my actions. I don’t want people to think less of my school, my coaches and my teammates because I did not represent Iowa State in a positive way. I also want to apologize to the Iowa State fans, our coaching staff and my teammates. This is embarrassing for me personally. I will work hard in the future to represent Iowa State University and Cyclone football in a positive way.”

Johnson drew a personal foul flag mid-way through a UNLV scoring drive, issuing contact after a play was dead. It kept the drive, and that Rebel possession ended with another Johnson cheap shot. After Omar Clayton scored on a 20-yard run, Johnson hit Clayton helmet-to-helmet after the UNLV quarterback had made it more than half-way through the end zone. Clayton remained on the turf for a couple of minutes before leaving under his own power.

UNLV coach Mike Sanford said on Monday that Johnson also got away with a punch against Rebel receiver Casey Flair - unseen by the officials - earlier in the possession.

Quick analysis: The apology was appropriate. But, boy, that hit on Clayton was one of the more childish things you could ever see on a football field. All it did was fire up UNLV, who went on to score two more first half touchdowns. Though credit Sanford's club for not getting drawn into ISU's game within the game.

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