WAC suspends Boise State nickel Winston Venable for first half of New Mexico State game

By Chadd Cripe
© 2010 Idaho Statesman

Boise State senior nickel Winston Venable has been suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game at New Mexico State, WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Wednesday.

Venable was suspended for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Oregon State wide receiver James Rodgers.

Benson, after consulting with two NCAA rules and officiating experts, decided to suspend Venable for a game. Boise State appealed to the WAC sportsmanship committee, which reduced the suspension to one half.

Venable wasn’t flagged for the hit during the game. He ran about 20 yards across the field, tracking scrambling quarterback Ryan Katz. Rodgers, who was blocking cornerback Jamar Taylor, stumbled into Venable’s path and appeared to try to block him.

Venable plowed through Rodgers, who missed the rest of the game with an apparent concussion.

(Here is a good look at the play.)

“One of the conclusions that both (experts) made on it, it was not the ball carrier,” Benson said. “He was in a somewhat defenseless position.”

Venable should have been ejected for the third-quarter hit because it was a flagrant personal foul, Benson said. The officials didn’t throw a flag, but Benson said they might not have been looking at the hit because it was not on the ball carrier.

Junior Hunter White, freshman Jonathan Brown and senior Jason Robinson give the Broncos several options to replace Venable in the first half of Saturday’s game.


The Boise State-Oregon State game drew a 3.4 rating. That translates to 3.95 million households and 5.6 million viewers, ESPN spokesman Mike Humes said.

"College GameDay," which originated from the blue turf, drew a 1.7 rating. That translates to 1.65 million households and 2 million viewers, Humes said.

The Boise State-Virginia Tech game earlier this year drew a 7.3 rating.


The Boise State-Nevada game is sold out.


Sports Illustrated is sending 36,000 extra copies of this week's issue to the Boise area. The Boise State football team is featured on the cover.


Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore is second this week in a four-man race in ESPN.com’s Heisman Watch. Moore has 51 points. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has 59, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor has 48 and Alabama running back Mark Ingram has 41.

At HeismanPundit.com, Moore is third — behind Robinson and Pryor.

1285796057 WAC suspends Boise State nickel Winston Venable for first half of New Mexico State game Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

What a crock....

Oh Karl Marx Benson, really? Wow. We know you dont get football. You probably wish for the good 'ol days of shootout scores like 67-52. We detest the fact you even claim to be a Bronco. I dont care what the haters say, you got this wrong and did it for publicity. It was a clean legal hit, even if Venables intentions are sometimes to cause "hurt". How can you suspend a guy based on "intention"?

Glass half empty...

The blog says that Benson consulted with two NCAA rules and officiating experts before suspending Venable for a game and then he agreed to reduce the penalty by 50%. I think this should be viewed as a learning opportunity for Venable and other Bronco players so they don't make these mistakes later in the season and perhaps a NC game.

Venable had it coming

Good player, but someone needed to step in and tell the kid to stop using his helmet while tackling.

See that is exactly why the WAC is wrong here

They aren't suspending him for that PLAY but for a perception and style of play that they think he has. Sorry if the refs can't call it and really the refs lost control of that third quarter and that is why all of this is an issue. The play where the OSU players helmet was taken off and players started to mob around was where things really went south. Venable is being punished for the WAC's impotency. Bye Bye WAC!

before the WAC goes bye bye

they are granting Venable a learning opportunity.

Perhaps it is the WAC who needs a learning opportunity.

Venable just needs to be coached up.

Refs lost control

Actually it was obvious from watching what was going on in the piles that the refs NEVER HAD CONTROL of that game. When they finally decided to wake up (after an injury), they made it worse by over-reacting and getting calls wrong (like the phantom foul later on Venable).

Before he paralizes himself? ETC???

Listen Tater, this isn't 300.

Venable is getting penalized as lightly as possible and having positive playing styles emphasized before it gets out of hand.

If it doesn't work he's going to GET IT...see the wisdom and good in this.

Having Winston Venable playing is NOT the sole reason he is there.


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne


FO: You got me curious. If Venable's playing is not the sole reason for being on the Bronco football team, then what is? Not being facetious or sarcastic. Just trying to understand what you understand to be the reason for his being on the team?



PS - Also, don't understand what the 300 thing is about/means?

It's that movie about a bunch of warrior cats, imdb it.


"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne


Venable did not lead with his head anymore than Rogers did, when will running backs start being penalized for using thier helmet when breaking tackles, there really is no difference. If you've ever played defense you'd know.

Napolean Benson

What a coward trying to exercise his last bit of power over the Broncos before they leave his crumbling conference. I was at the game on Saturday and got through the 3rd quarter on DVR last night. I watched this very play 6-7 times in slow motion with my boys (both high school football players) trying to teach them a very important lesson in tackling fundamentals. Venable is a beast and loves to hit, but he did not go after Rogers or try to hurt him. If you watch the play again, there were two broncos (I forget which DB it was and Venebale) in pursuit of Katz. The DB was behind Rogers and Venable was pursuing Katz down the line of scrimmage. The DB came up to make the tackle and shoved Rogers in the back causing him to lose his balance right in front of Venable who turned and lowered his head running through Rogers to stop Katz. He did not do anything illegal and should not be punished. I would suggest that, as Coach Pete has already mentioned if he doesn't change how he hits, he is going to hurt himself. If you watch the play a few times, you can see how Rogers was stumbling and was not ready for the blow he took. Just an unfortunate part of a punishing sport where people hit. Football is a brutal sport, not patty cakes.

A couple of plays later, Jaquizz Rogers runs the ball out of the wildcat to the left where he is met instantly by Tevis knocking his helmet off. When I saw this play from the stands, it looked like Tevis' facemask got caught on Rogers' shoulder pads or something, after I watched it last night, I saw what happened. After Rogers' helmet got knocked off and there were 3 broncos on him, two of them let go on the whistle and Tevis rolled to ground with Rogers when one of his linemen came and tried to push him off, but he was stuck. Rogers hand was deep into Tevis' facemask. This was on the Oregon State sideline and about caused a bench clearing. You can see Tevis laying there like what did I do, I he wouldn't let go of my facemask, then Rogers stood over him like he was taunting him. Crazy game, and I thought some poor officiating. I do hope that when Venable comes back he plays with a vengence, just keep your head up and eyes on the ball carrier. I'd hate to see a career end prematurely.

Go Broncos!!!

Its just that much sweeter to see him hand us the trophy

at the end of the year.... next year he gets to hand it to nevada or fresno.... hahahahahah!


It's refreshing to read a post that thoughtfully analyzes some plays and sheds some light/truth. Thanks!


I just reviewed the video. Benson is caving in to the pressure and handing out an unwarranted suspension! What about the punt return when Rodgers ran for a touchdown and there was a clearly illegal block in the back by an Oregon State player that sprung the play. Where is the cry for a suspension for that one since there was no flag on it either and the potential for serious injury is just as great. Also, where was the flag on the Beavers when some of their bench came on the field after the other Rodgers lost his helmet?

We had to beat the referees, our mistakes AND the Beavers. That is what good teams do when necessary. Winston is an aggressive player who looked to me like he was trying to make a tackle through a blocker. I don't fault him for that.

WAC Officials

There were a few other calls made in the game that were questionable. Even on the punt return for a touchdown, OSU #3 blocks Efaw in the back right as Rogers runs by, no flag. I know it is easy to sit back and judge from our armchairs, but the officials seemed like they could have appeared in one of those Buffalo Wild Wings commericials.


Maybe the automatic sprinklers with start up in the the fourth quarter. Good for a laugh; even better if it wakes up officials with a blast of cold water.


You saw too, Oh that poed me off. The ref's certainly had a hard time that night but BSU got the W. so no hard feelings. I remember during Z's era that OSU won on a bad call that the ref's called Boise and apologised after that fact that would have been a game changer. This is certainly a rivalry in the making.

Venable what a crock/

I agree! Watching the BCS show on ESPNU I saw at least 5 other hits that were as or more "questionable" than his hit. The clowns at the WAC are crazy, too bad they don't suspend some of them for just plain idiocy.

can't fix stupid.

suspensions for idiocy don't work. ;)

Benson is a...

BRONCO, let's not forget that. He has given them every advantage he has been in power to give for the past many years. Get a clue.

Benson is.... The WAC commissioner

Yes, he is a Bronco, but at the end of the day, his paycheck comes from the WAC. He has fought for the Broncos to be in the spotlight because it means more money for the WAC, not beacause he is a BSU alum who wants to see his alma mater do well. He is a CEO of a company who is in business to make money, bottom line. Now back to the issue at hand, he made a decision to suspend a kid for a hit that was not flagged in a game and was done right in front of an official. If he wants to suspend anyone, suspend the guys who get paid to make the calls. WAC officials called the game, and I would say they did would get a C- for their efforts.

Broncos are...

dirty players. End of discussion.

End of Discussion......

JFS12 - It is obvious that you:
1- Have not watched very much Bronco football
2- Probably have not ever strapped on a football helmet yourself except for maybe some cheap Halloween costume
3- Live in Boise but root for anyone but the Broncos.

Seriously, you are going to call them Dirty Players! I've watched the Broncos for 30 plus years and would not call them dirty. If anything, I've often thought they need a little more swagger, but the minute they did that, Bronco Football as we know it would be over. These players are a bunch of hardworking, dedicated players who are anything but dirty. They roll their sleeves up and come ready to work each gameday. Don't take away from these kids and their hardwork by such an uneducated and unsubstanciated comment as yours.

Go Broncos!


are an idiot.....NOW the discussion is over.

end of discussion

You know nothing about college football-end of discussion

He was right.

How can you make such an ignorant comment. The commish is not supposed to be 'a Bronco'. I am a big Winston and Broncos fan, but Benson is completely right about the suspension. Look at the Youtube video linked from Chad Cripe's blog and you will see that he lowered his head and rammed into James Rodgers with his helmet. It was obvious intent.
It is fine to bleed blue, but make sure you get enough blood to the brain to make logical conclusions.

Good post ThorD

I concur

Obvious Intent.....

ThorD - go back to your Marvel Comics fantasy world. How do you derive "Obvious Intent" from that video? You really know what was going on in Winston Venable's head at that moment? If you have DVR go back and watch the play full speed, and then slow it down. Watch it a few times, Rogers was pushed into Venable's path right as he was getting ready to go for the tackle, he lowered his head to get through him. That is not illegal, dangerous, but not illegal. Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with his form on the hit, you NEVER want to lower your head (eyes to the turf)to make a tackle, but it was not illegal. My bigger concern is that he hurts himself at some point if he continues wiht this form. 1 game suspension was not merited in this case, BSU appealled and got a half game suspension. Still not warranted, but it is what it is, decision is final.

yeah...I agree no obvious intent

however, it does appear that Venable saw a Beaver, which happened to be Rodgers, and he lowered his head and made helmet to helmet contact and yes, it's more unfortunate than it is illegal

Good post BK

I agree.

to be honest

don't you normally have to lower your head to see a beaver?

Sorry...bad joke?


I would say 'thumbs up', but that might be just as bad; so I will just stick out my tongue.



depends on where you are.

Darn it anyway.....

I hate it when a player has to rest for a whole first half and then come in fresh as can be with knowledge of the oppositions offense and kick some hiney. I don't think V did what he did on purpose. He's a very aggressive player. Just look at his past film. He was doing what he was trained to do EXCEPT he needs to not lead with that helmet. That's a huge NO NO!!!

Benson's revenge!

Lookout Nevada and Fresno, you'll be next for the little man to throw his (lack of) weight around on!!

The WAC should suspend Benson

The WAC Presidents should suspend Benson - Permanently!

Can't wait to see what new Revenge ploy Benson has up his sleve. I know - Benson will outlaw Blue Turf!


should play iron man second half. Too bad this kid is the recipient of a political fallout.

political fallout

do not think so he has been dirty playing football all his adult life look at the film last year what a joke that is the brand of bronconation football who dom they play this week new mexico state what a power bronconation


I do not understand your comment.

Wiesturd has an upset stomach.

Look-out motel maids. His spray is wider than most.

The TV Crew...

would have zeroed in on it if it was flagrant. They did not. Nor did the broadcast crew comment about it other than to notice that something happened. As I recall there was no clear consensus as to what took place. You have to wonder about Benson and his motivation. Is the little man really that pi$$ed and concerned about losing his job that he would exact revenge on an iffy play?

They called BSU's play in that game "chippy" whatever that means

It wasn't Benson. The inquiry came at the request of Coach Riley after he complained to the officials. Riley is a class act and I can assure you that Petersen would have done the same if things were reversed and he lost Pettis.


means the same thing as scrubby....


Oregon State did not request the review. The WAC initiated the review because it was a helmet-to-helmet hit.

When did Riley ask for anything...???

He may be a classy guy but I doubt he asked anyone to review anything. I may be wrong but it didnt seem like after the game Riley or the Roger bros were too upset. Quizz and Titus were just talking away like long lost buddies after the game was over.

Never said Riley asked for anything, JL

All I said is that Riley complained to the refs after the hit


You say you did not say Riley asked for anything.

Here is a quote from your post, 2 posts up: "The inquiry came at the request of Coach Riley after he complained to the officials"
You just said it Donk. Can you not remember what you say, 5 minutes later? Why did you just deny saying that?


I write all sorts of things that I don't remember writing because I'm inebriated and uncivil

The refs didn't flag that play, so why did the WAC review it ?

The reason is because Riley made a complaint to the officials after that play. His compliant was captured during the telecast and it was his compliant that led to the phantom make up call later in the game and eventually led to a WAC review of the play. Cripe, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! If you have info contrary to that, I'd like to hear it