Provo • Players and coaches at BYU expressed sympathy for Utah State safety McKade Brady on Monday, and not just because the junior began his college career as a sprinter on the BYU track team before transferring to USU and joining the football program without a scholarship.
Brady was penalized and then ejected for what officials deemed an illegal hit on BYU receiver Ross Apo in the first quarter of the Cougars' 27-24 win over the Aggies on Friday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
USU coach Gary Andersen said Western Athletic Conference officials told him Monday that the league would impose no further sanctions on Brady.
In so many words, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall questioned whether the hit that replays showed was more shoulder-to-midsection than helmet-to-helmet warranted an ejection. Officials said in announcing the ejection that Brady was punished for leaving his feet.
"I have seen hits that have been similar where … there is a foul, but there's not an ejection. Where that line is, I am not sure," Mendenhall said. " … Was the hit intentional, after the play, malicious [enough], to be ejected? That's probably too strong. … That's probably as much as I ought to say."
BYU safety Travis Uale, who was neither flagged nor punished later for a more egregious high hit on Utah's DeVonte Christopher two weeks ago, said he also has empathy for Brady.
"Yeah, of course, because I can see myself in the same situation, if I was to get ejected, I would feel terrible not being able to help my team. And especially because it happened so early in the game. Yeah, I can feel for someone like that," he said.
Uale said he doesn't believe Brady was trying to injure Apo, and that players don't have time to think of the repercussions when they are trying to stop a play. "A player just plays. I don't think any safety is worried about getting a head-to-head [penalty] or getting ejected. He is just trying to play," Uale said.
Defensive end Graham Rowley left the game in the second half with an ankle injury and did not return. Linebacker Jordan Pendleton, who also has a sprained ankle, did not play. Mendenhall didn't have an update on Rowley's condition, but said Pendleton will likely play this week. … BYU QB Riley Nelson is the FBS Independent Co-Offensive Player of the Week along with Notre Dame's Cierre Wood.
P San Jose State at BYU, 8:15 p.m.
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