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.