Oklahoma defensive lineman Demarcus Granger was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting Saturday, according to Tempe police, and won’t play in Wednesday’s Fiesta Bowl after being sent home.
Sgt. Mike Horn, Tempe police spokesman, said Granger, 21, was at Burlington Coat Factory at Arizona Mills Mall, 5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle, when he removed an anti-theft device from a jacket and then hid the jacket in a bag.
Horn said store security stopped Granger and called police.
“Mr. Granger made admissions to the offense and was booked into the Tempe City Jail for one count of shoplifting,” Horn said.
Shoplifting is a misdemeanor.
Granger was cooperative throughout and was bailed out of jail, Horn said.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Monday Granger has been suspended from the team and sent home.
“He will not play. And we’ll deal with his situation when we get back,” Stoops said. “If there is anything further, we’ll see.”
Granger, a sophomore, started 11 of 13 games and had 3 1/2 sacks, but was known primarily as a run-stopper. He had 35 tackles, tied for the most among Oklahoma defensive linemen.
Stoops said Steven Coleman and Adrian Taylor will see additional time on the defensive line in Granger’s absence.
Starting defensive backs Lendy Holmes (academics) and Reggie Smith (toe injury) also will miss the game.
“I would like for about 10 more (players) to go home and half their coaches, and I would feel really good,” West Virginia interim coach Bill Stewart said. “Whether there is a distraction here or there, they will be in their crimson and white, we will be in our blue and gold, and we will have at it in a good, old-fashioned football game.”
West Virginia junior running back Steve Slaton has been known to save some of his best performances for the biggest stages.
As a freshman, Slaton ran for a Sugar Bowl-record 204 yards and three touchdowns and was named MVP in the Mountaineers’ 38-35 victory over Georgia.
After running for a school record 1,722 yards and finishing fourth in voting for the Heisman Trophy last season, Slaton was poised for another big postseason performance, but a thigh bruise limited him to 11 yards on three carries in the Gator Bowl.
With the Fiesta Bowl possibly his last collegiate game — he hasn’t made a decision on his future but has filed papers with the NFL to find out where he might go in the draft — Slaton is thankful to be healthy this time around and hopes to come up big again.
“It means a lot (to play in another bowl),” he said. “A bowl game is not always guaranteed for a lot of people in college football. Any chance you get you want to perform.”
Slaton is already West Virginia’s career leader in rushing touchdowns with 50. If he runs for at least 162 yards Wednesday he will pass Amos Zereoue (4,086) for second on the school’s career rushing list. Avon Cobourne (5,164) is first.
West Virginia’s option-spread attack doesn’t utilize the pass often (20.5 attempts per game) but when one is called for, quarterback Pat White usually finds Darius Reynaud.
The senior, who leads the team with 59 receptions, has more than twice as many catches as Slaton, second on the list with 25, and 11 of the team’s 14 touchdown passes have been thrown to him.
When asked why he looks Reynaud’s way so often, White said it’s simple.
“He gets open,” White said.
West Virginia is 0-3 all time when playing in Arizona. It lost the 1998 Insight.com Bowl to Missouri, 34-31, in Tucson; the 1989 Fiesta Bowl to Notre Dame, 34-21, in Tempe; and a regular-season game at Arizona State, 42-7, in 1979. … This is Oklahoma’s ninth consecutive bowl game, a school record. All nine have been under the direction of Stoops.
Oklahoma defensive end Auston English: English led the Big 12 in sacks (9 1/2) and tackles for loss (13) despite playing in just 10 games because of a hairline fracture in his ankle. He came back still hurt for the Big 12 championship against Missouri, but said he is 100 percent now. English has also been battling a cold this week.
West Virginia offensive lineman Ryan Stanchek: The junior left tackle was named a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America. He helped pave the way for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in quarterback Pat White and running back Steve Slaton. The Mountaineers average 292.9 rushing yards per game.
Tribune writer Matt Paulson contributed to this story.