NORMAN — The Big 12 Conference suspended Nebraska linebacker Eric Martin for one game Wednesday for a helmet-to-helmet hit last Saturday against Oklahoma State. It is the first suspension the conference has handed out this season.
The ruling will also have an impact on games that are going to be played Saturday.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he hadn’t seen the play that caused the suspension. When told it came on a blind hit on a kickoff return, Stoops was surprised.
He thought the rule was put into place to protect defenseless players. A defender running downfield on a kickoff isn’t defenseless the way a receiver jumping for a ball is.
“I’m kind of asking because I want to make sure I’m telling our guys the right things,” Stoops said. “If it’s beyond defenseless players, now you’re saying you can’t hit anybody in the helmet, so I’m trying to get some clarity myself before this weekend to know why one is and one isn’t.
“I don’t know how clear it is.”
Stoops also said OU fullback Trey Millard was hit in a similar manner by a Missouri player the second time OU kicked off last Saturday.
There was no penalty on the play and Martin wasn’t called for one last week either. The difference might have been that the Oklahoma State player was knocked out of the game. Millard wasn’t.
OU safety Quinton Carter was called for a personal foul in the second half for “targeting above the head” on a tackle. But the Big 12 office took no action.
OU announced Wednesday a unique twist to this Saturday’s game against Colorado. It is asking all fans to come to the game dressed as their favorite Sooner football coach.
Throughout the game, OU staff will scan the crowd to select the four best dressed and most easily recognized head coach costumes. During the third quarter, the four winners will be brought onto Owen Field and each awarded a $100 MidFirst Bank Gift Card during the MidFirst Bank Scoreboard Update. Fans can dress as any current or former head football coach to be eligible for the random selection.
Fans also can wear their Halloween costumes to the game, but must abide by the prohibited items regulations, including all costume accessories, as outlined on soonersports.com.
OU coach Bob Stoops said linebacker Ronnell Lewis has been ruled out for Saturday’s game due to the knee surgery he had last week. He’ll join defensive tackles Casey Walker and Daniel Noble on the injured list for the Colorado game.
Stoops said Lewis is expected to practice Monday as the Sooners start preparing for the Nov. 6 game at Texas A&M.
Also, linebacker Travis Lewis practiced with a cast on his right hand Wednesday, but is expected to play against Colorado.
John Shinn 366-3536 firstname.lastname@example.org