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Senseless tragedy at FIU; plus, late-night fun at Marshall and some Oregon fallout
By MATT TAIBBI  |  April 14, 2010

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The Florida International University football program was rocked recently when running back Kendall Berry was stabbed to death in front of eight witnesses — allegedly by an ex–FIU teammate.

It seems that a former FIU walk-on named Quentin Wyche got into a squabble with Berry’s girlfriend on March 25, insulting her and throwing some cookies at her. Berry eventually confronted Wyche, who allegedly stabbed him once in the stomach outside the campus rec center. According to witnesses, as Berry fell to the ground dying, Wyche stood over him and taunted him, saying, “That’s what he gets. I told y’all.”

As for what Wyche gets, it’s a second-degree-murder charge and a probable 15 to 20 years in a Florida penitentiary.

Wyche, a former star high-school player from DeLand, Florida, initially fled and was in the wind for 24 hours, but later surrendered to police. Meanwhile the FIU campus went into semi-lockdown mode, with students advised to stay in their dorms. Security was also offered to anyone who wanted an escort to walk on campus.

Wyche was only on the team for three days last year before being cut — reports are unclear whether he was let go for behavioral reasons or because he just couldn’t play. Berry, on the other hand, was expected to be a major contributor this fall; he rushed for six TDs in 2009 after an injury-plagued 2008, and was in line to be the team’s featured back. In his last hours, he was apparently urging friends to come watch an FIU scrimmage.

There have been a number of college-football players who’ve been involved in serious knife attacks in recent years. Last year, the Baltimore Ravens drafted one of the survivors, Utah defensive end Paul Kruger, who was stabbed in the abdomen by gang members in 2006.

That same year also saw one of the more bizarre cases we’ve ever seen in college sports — a Tonya Harding–esque attack of Northern Colorado punter Rafael Mendoza by his teammate, fellow punter Mitch Cozad. Cozad stabbed Mendoza in the leg in an apparent attempt to win the starting punting job. Cozad got seven years.

Last fall, Connecticut cornerback Jasper Howard was stabbed to death just hours after a homecoming-game win over Louisville.

Give Wyche 100 points on our list, and stay tuned. How exactly the fight escalated, and why no one intervened, remains a mystery.

We were Marshall
A pair of Marshall football players got a bit of an education on the criminal code a couple weeks back. DeQuan Starling and T.J. Drakeford were pounding drinks at a bar in Huntington, West Virginia, early April 4 when police showed up to clear out a reported disturbance. The two football players balked and gave the officers an extra-hard time; Starling reportedly said to one of them, “You’re lucky you’re a cop or I’d fuck you up.” When police tried to subdue them, Drakeford fought back.

That’ll get you an assault charge in most cases, and it did here. Drakeford got hit with obstruction and battery of a police officer and wrapped up on a $15,000 bond. Starling got assault of a police officer and underage consumption, with a $5500 bond. Marshall’s head coach Doc Holliday — yes, that’s really his name — suspended the pair indefinitely last week before dismissing Drakeford outright on Friday. Give them 28 points apiece for being drunken, belligerent slobs disgracing the alma mater of Troy Brown and Randy Moss.

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