Three players to miss first half against WSU

CB James Dockery, FS Bryan Payton and CB Brandon Hughes will all miss the first half of the Washington State game Nov. 17 as required by the NCAA after they were ejected during the Washington game last weekend.

"This was not a game representative of the best of Pac-10 football, as evidenced by the fact there have been no ejections in a Pac-10 game previously this year," Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen said. "We know that feeling is shared by the administrators and coaches at both institutions, and all involved will work to see such conduct does not happen in the future."

Head coach Mike Riley agreed with the ejection of Payton and thought that Dockery deserved to be punished, both looked like they threw punches, but felt that Hughes was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Nothing is surprising to me," Riley said. "The deal about Brandon Hughes being ejected in the first place, that isn’t fair. He was the separator, he never threw a punch. It was called. There’s no way to change that."

"I know what his intention was but that doesn’t mean anything. It was instigated by No. 65 by Washington. I wish we didn’t retaliate, by Bryan mainly. He was protecting his guy. I guess by throwing up his arm like that could be interpreted as a punch.”

The incident that Riley is referring to is when offensive guard Ryan Tolar started punching Bernard in the face after he lost his helmet - a situation that Riley feels the Pac-10 did not address properly in the official statement. As a result athletic director Bob DeCarolis will release a statement Tuesday.

“The only other thing I feel strongly about that is not strong enough in the statement is that Yvenson Bernard was not handled well,” Riley said. “I saw his helmet ripped off and someone punched him in the face. There’s more than the release indicated.”

Although Riley feels that the Pac-10 supported their referees while turning a blind eye to Oregon State, he says it is important for the team to move on and focus on this weekend's game with the Cougars.

"It is another must-win,” said Riley who is 44-38 at OSU. “The Beavers haven’t won in Pullman in a long time, and the Cougars are playing well. Their production is unbelievable. It always is."

The absence of Hughes in the starting lineup is a difficult blow to the cornerbacks. Hughes has been fantastic all year defending the pass while supporting the run defense. Hughes is the team's fifth leading tackler with 51 stops, including six for loss. He also has two interceptions and a team high 10 pass breakups.

Starting in his place will be Tim Clark, who has also turned in a fine year, but depth will be a key concern as Patrick Fuller and Gerard Lawson will backup the cornerback positions.

Losing Payton is also a blow as he is the team's nickel back and one of the first off of the bench. Lawson could see time at safety as well as Greg Laybourn. Payton has 21 tackles and four pass breakups this season.

Dockery is a special teams standout with 10 tackles.


The rest of official Pac-10 statement follows:

Following a thorough review of the play in and officiating of the Washington at Oregon State game on Saturday, November 10, the Pacific-10 Conference has determined no additional penalties will be assessed against any player, but the instant replay crew has been reprimanded, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today.

"Our review of the game included study of the game tape by Coordinator of Football Officiating Dave Cutaia, Director of Instant Replay Verle Sorgen, football administrator Jim Muldoon and me, review of game reports from the officiating crew and instant replay officials, communications with the two institutions and follow-up communications with the referee of the game.

"We regret that there was flagrant misconduct on the part of some players which led to four ejections from the game, that there was an injury to Washington quarterback Jake Locker which increased the emotions of the players and that the instant replay crew failed to stop the game to review the play at the goal line with just under three minutes to play. On the play, it was ruled Oregon State's Yvenson Bernard fumbled. However, it appeared his knee had touched the ground before he lost the ball.

"We found that the officiating crew made ernest attempts to control the conduct of the players. Eight personal fouls were called and four players ejected during the game. We did not find any act which was not addressed by the officials which warranted additional action by the Conference, Hansen said.

"We do believe the instant replay officials did not perform properly on the Bernard fumble play. There was human error in that while reviewing the available replays the crew failed to notify the game officials to stop play before the ball was snapped for the next play. It was not the fault of the equipment. The game should have been stopped and the play reviewed. The members of the IR crew have been reprimanded."

"We believe the helmet-to-helmet contact on the hit on Locker was inadvertent. College football is played at a very high speed, and hard collisions such as this one result. Thankfully, Locker apparently did not suffer a serious injury. The sight of him walking back into Reser Stadium during the fourth quarter was most welcome.

"Helmet-to-helmet contact is a national point of emphasis, and we will continue to officiate accordingly.

We reviewed a second-quarter play on which Bernard lost his helmet. That occurred in a pile of players when the ball came loose and a struggle ensured for possession. It is impossible to see more than players grabbing at the ball, Hansen said.


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