STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald won't play in Saturday's season opener against Stephen F. Austin because of a "violation of team policy."

First-year Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead made the surprise announcement at Monday's news conference. Moorhead did not elaborate on the reason for Fitzgerald's suspension, saying only that the violation occurred last spring.

The suspension delays the return of Fitzgerald, a third-year starter who suffered a gruesome dislocated right ankle in last year's Egg Bowl. Sophomore Keytaon Thompson will start in Fitzgerald's absence.

Moorhead praised Fitzgerald's behavior and attitude since the spring incident, saying that he's been elected team captain and is a "great leader and great teammate." Moorhead said Fitzgerald will return for the 18th-ranked Bulldogs and be the starter against Kansas State on Sept. 8.

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