VERMILLION, S.D. | University of South Dakota Coach Joe Glenn said during the weekly Missouri Valley Football Conference coaches teleconference on Tuesday that linebacker Tyler Starr will have to sit out the first half of Saturday’s home game against Indiana State.
Starr, a senior from Central Lyon/George-Little Rock, was ejected from last Saturday’s game against Missouri State in the second half for what the league called a helmet-to-helmet hit on quarterback Kierra Harris.
The hit in question occurred in the fourth quarter of the Coyotes’ 17-14 victory. It will be reviewed by a three-person league committee, but is unlikely to affect Starr’s status for this weekend.
“They look at it to determine if it was a helmet-to-helmet hit,” Glenn said. “He did not hit him with his helmet, it was more like him coming through his (Harris) chin and up. He led with his hands and he came in under the shoulder pads. As he was throwing him down they’re saying it was helmet-to-helmet. He didn’t launch for the head.”
Starr, a preseason All-American who is putting together a banner season, had eight tackles, two sacks and a tackle for loss prior to the ejection. The hit forced Harris to leave the game and the Bears to insert reserve Ashton Glaser, who failed to complete a pass in six attempts.
As part of the penalty for being ejected, Starr can’t play in the first half Saturday.
“We’ll have to get somebody in there to help us out and see if we can’t stay in there for a half,” Glenn said. “I’m all for getting the helmet-to-helmet out of the game. We have to get everyone to tackle below the shoulder pads. We have to figure out a way to save the game. But I think everyone has some work to do yet in deciding what is a penalty and when you should kick a guy out.”
For his part, Starr said he didn’t even realize what had happened.
“I got blocked by the tight end and I just came off the edge and made a hit and didn’t even realize what I did,” said the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Starr. “It was unintentional. I was surprised, I didn’t even know there was a flag.”
South Dakota, which picked up its first Missouri Valley Football Conference win ever last week, hosts Indiana State at 1 p.m. in the DakotaDome.