The Nevada Wolf Pack will be without one of their better players on Saturday when they take on UNLV, as defensive tackle Rykeem Yates was suspended for a hit during last week's game vs Buffalo. According to the Mountain West, Yates will receive a half-game "for targeting and initiating forcible contact against an opponent with the crown of the helmet."
Since this is the second time Yates has been reprimanded for an illegal hit, an additional half was added to the initial punishment, forcing him to miss the entire game vs UNLV.
Head coach Brian Polian said that they were able to appeal the decision, but the league denied the motion. "I respect the decision of the league," said Polian. "I have no issue with it."
The play in question was towards the end of the game, on a two-point conversion attempt by the Bulls. As the receiver Marcus McGill entered the end zone, Yates launched, and struck the McGill in the head. He remained down on the field for close to five minutes, but did return to the game. It should not have happened, and I will leave it at that.
The Nevada defense has struggled this season without Yates on the field. In the opener against UC Davis, Yates did not play for the first few series for unknown reasons. While he was on the sideline, the Wolf Pack could not stop the Aggies' FCS running attack, and their drive was only halted due to a dropped pass. Sophomore Corey Rush will need to step up as Yates replacement.