This is a huge loss for Mississippi State for its season opener.

On Monday, coach Joe Moorhead announced that senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is suspended for Saturday’s game against Stephen F. Austin due to a violation of team rules back in March.

Along with Fitzgerald, senior defensive tackle Cory Thomas is also suspended for the opener.

Fitzgerald is the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback after a strong junior season that ended with an ankle injury in the final game of the regular season. He worked hard during the offseason to return healthy for 2018.

Fitzgerald passed for 1,782 yards and 15 touchdowns and rushed for 984 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. He has been the Bulldogs’ starter the past two seasons.

Mississippi State opens the season against Stephen F. Austin on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Bulldogs travel to Kansas State on Sept. 8, which will likely be Fitzgerald’s season debut.