A day after Mario Pender was dismissed by the Florida State program, the details regarding his arrest this weekend have started to become reported. Pender was charged with resisting an officer without violence along with his domestic battery charge, and he reportedly refused to get in a police vehicle unless Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher arrived on the scene. Pender eventually did give in and Fisher did not make an appearance on the scene.
The Tallahassee Democrat provided the initial details of the Pender incident, some of which were pretty harsh with regard to the domestic battery charge. Per the police report, Tallahassee police responded to a call about an argument about half a mile from Doak Campbell Stadium. The man, alleged to be Pender, was witnessed dragging a woman by her hair outside a house. The caller to 911 suggested this was not the first time an incident like this had happened, although there is no evidence to suggest one way or the other how valid that claim is at this time.
An officer responding on the scene pushed a door down after hearing yelling from inside the house, where he found Pender “straddling the woman with his hands around her neck.” As the sequence of events continued, Pender later refused to get in a police car until his head coach, Jimbo Fisher, made an appearance on the scene.
From The Tallahassee Democrat;
Pender initially said he would not get in the police car “until a supervisor and (FSU head coach) Jimbo Fisher responded to the scene,” court documents said. FSU officials said Fisher never went to the scene. Pender eventually got into the car and was taken to the Leon County Jail.
Florida State dismissed Pender from the program Saturday, following the arrest.
Florida State has dismissed running back Mario Pender from the program after being arrested Saturday. Pender was charged for domestic battery by strangulation and resisting an officer without violence by the Tallahassee Police Department. The domestic battery charge is considered a third-degree felony. Bond was reportedly set at $500. The details of the incident have not been reported.
“Mario Pender has been permanently dismissed from the football team following his arrest earlier in the day,” a statement released by Florida State said Saturday night said. “The Athletics Department will have no further comment at this time.”
This is not the first time Pender has faced a battery allegation either. In high school, Pender faced charges for battery and grand theft but the state dropped the case when the woman (Pender’s ex-girlfriend) making the allegations failed to cooperate with the investigation. Pender was linked to another incident at Florida State in which his debit card was stolen by former Florida State offensive lineman Ira Denson. Pender then stole Denson’s shoes and a meeting to exchange the stolen items got ugly. Denson was dismissed from the team.
Pender’s dismissal comes after Florida State has taken measures to address how its players treat women, which came about following the dismissal of freshman quarterback De'Andre Johnson, who was caught on video throwing a punch at a female in a club. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said at the time there was no tolerance for hitting women.
Pender was Florida State’s third-leading rusher in 2015 with 140 rushing yards and a touchdown behind Dalvin Cook and freshman Jacques Patrick. The junior has had a rough time since joining the Florida State program despite being a four-star talent out of high school.
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher addressed the status of running back Karlos Williams briefly Tuesday, and left no other comment about it. Fisher said Williams will play Thursday night when the Seminoles play at Louisville in an ACC Atlantic Division match-up.
Tallahassee police are investigating Williams in connection to an alleged domestic battery incident. Williams was also connected to another investigation regarding a robbery, which was blasted by his lawyer. Despite the ongoing investigation, Williams has not been charged with any crimes at this time, which is the reason Florida State has not felt a need to change the status of the running back. If Williams happens to be charged with anything between now and Thursday, it should be expected his status for Thursday night will change.
Florida State has come under fire for its handling of a number of incidents related to players, but Florida State and Fisher are right to allow the legal investigation play out before making any change to the playing status of Williams. Florida State may have an image problem going on right now in the public eye, but until Williams is charged with anything there is no reason to suspend him.
Florida State will be without at least one running back though. Mario Pender is ruled out this week due to an ankle injury.
No. 1 Florida State (6-0, 4-0 ACC) extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 22 games Saturday at Syracuse (2-4, 0-2 ACC). Quarterback Jameis Winston put aside all of the off-field drama surrounding his name once again and was sharp once again. Winston completed 30-of-36 pass attempts for 317 yards and three touchdowns in Florida State’s 38-20 road victory in ACC play.
Winston was on point right from the start of the game. Just a little more than 12 hours earlier it was reported Winston will face a disciplinary hearing at Florida State for possible violations to the school’s code of conduct, but Winston was locked in once he put a uniform on and took the field. Winston completed all five of his pass attempts on the game’s opening drive, which ended with a touchdown run by Mario Pender, and Winston later added two red zone touchdown passes in the second half. Rashad Greene led all players with 107 yards, and tight end Nick O’Leary added 97 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Syracuse did not go away, but the Orange dug too big a hole to crawl out of as the game unfolded. Syracuse managed to keep attacking Florida State’s defense, piling up 412 yards on the afternoon. It is the first time Florida State has allowed over 400 yards of offense this season. It came with some good balance as well. Syracuse quarterback AJ Long had the better day under center for Syracuse, completing 16-of-27 pass attempts for 167 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he was also intercepted twice. Prince-Tyson Gulley gave it his best effort but was only able to pick up 80 yards on 16 carries.
The big question following a game like this used to be whether or not Florida State did enough this week to retain its spot atop the polls. With Auburn and Mississippi State meeting in a clash of top three teams, it is possible Florida State could be passed in the poll this week. It may even be expected the way polls seem to react. However, this should not be a concern for Florida State fans. All Florida State has to continue doing is winning games. There is little standing in the way of Florida State and another trip to the ACC Championship Game, and if Florida State manages to run the table it should be expected they should be as much of a lock for a spot in the four-team playoff as any other school could claim to be.
Florida State will host Notre Dame next week. Syracuse will look to snap a four-game losing streak when they head on the road to Wake Forest next Saturday.
Florida State got off to a nice start in the dome at Syracuse, but the Seminoles are getting more of a fight from the Orange than the score might indicate. Despite leading Florida State 24-6 at the break, the Orange have seemed to come on strong in the second quarter. Syracuse’s inability to finish on drives has held them back from making this a closer game.
Syracuse worked a 76-yard drive but had to settle for a field goal early in the second quarter. A few plays later Syracuse recovered a fumble lost by Florida State running back Mario Pender at the Florida State 16-yard line. The Noles buckled down on defense and allowed just one yard, forcing Syracuse to settle for a second field goal.
We are also getting the latest exhibition of how Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston can bottle up any off-field controversy and perform on the field. A day after it was reported Winston will face a code of conduct hearing at Florida State, Winston has been excelling with his passing. Winston has completed 16 of 19 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns. His second touchdown pass was completed to tight end Nick O’Leary from 21 yards, capping a 75-yard drive for a 24-6 lead.
Syracuse may not be far from making things interesting in the second half, but the offense has to find a way to the end zone and the defense still has to keep FSU off the board and that may not be likely to happen.