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Chippewas’ Rawls sentenced, but will play

Central Michigan’s star running back, Thomas Rawls, was sentenced Tuesday to one year of probation and 104 hours of community service stemming from an April arrest after he stole a woman’s purse.

Rawls will be in uniform Saturday when Central Michigan visits the University at Buffalo for a 3:30 p.m. game at UB Stadium.

Central Michigan held Rawls out of a September game against Syracuse and suspended him for the following week’s game at Kansas as a result of the arrest. He then was reinstated and has played the past four games for the Chippewas.

Rawls leads the Mid-American Conference in rushing with 1,007 yards and an average of 168.7 yards a game. That’s fifth best in the nation.

Rawls, 21, spent his first three college seasons at the University of Michigan, seeing only limited duty. He graduated early and transferred to Central Michigan this year. The arrest happened prior to his enrollment at Central Michigan, and school officials said they did not know about the incident until last month. Rawls and two companions were charged with stealing the purse of a 62-year-old woman at a Michigan casino on April 8, according to the Associated Press.

He initially was charged with three felony counts. He wound up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempted larceny under the Michigan Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which allows young, first-time offenders to clear their public criminal record if they follow the conditions of their probation and sentencing.

“He’s paid his consequences,” Central Michigan coach Dan Enos told Mlive.com when Rawls was reinstated last month. “If you have a family and have children that make a mistake, you don’t just kick them out of the house and tell them they’re never coming home. That’s now how you deal with situations with young people you care about and with your family.”

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UB’s second-string running back, Jordan Johnson, sat out the past three games with a sprained knee. He was able to participate in parts of practice each day this week. So did starting defensive end Brandon Crawford, who sat out the last game due to a blow to the head. Coach Alex Wood said the availability of both would be game-time decisions.

UB running back Anthone Taylor is 74 yards shy of becoming the eighth player in UB history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. He can join Branden Oliver and James Starks as the only players to rush for 1,000 yards in UB’s FBS era.

email: mgaughan@buffnews.com