MISSOULA — Montana sophomore nose tackle Alex Gubner will be able to play the full game this week after his ejection from Saturday’s game for targeting and subsequent suspension for the first half this Saturday was overturned Tuesday, the Big Sky Conference told the Missoulian and 406mtsports.com.
“Because replay was down during the second half of the Montana-Idaho football game when the called penalty in question occurred, the Big Sky Coordinator of Football Officials immediately initiated the process after the game for the play to be reviewed so it could be confirmed or overturned,” Big Sky assistant commissioner Tyson Rodgers wrote in an email.
“The national coordinator of officials informed the Big Sky Coordinator of Football Officials today that the call was overturned, and the student-athlete is eligible to compete in the first half of this week’s game.”
Gubner has been part of the Grizzlies’ two-player rotation at nose tackle with junior Eli Alford, starting in five of seven games. He has 16 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and one quarterback hurry this season.
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Gubner was called for targeting and ejected in the fourth quarter of the game at Idaho this past Saturday. Targeting is defined by the NCAA as a player making “forcible contact against an opponent with the crown of their helmet” or “forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent.”
Gubner would’ve had to sit out the first half this week against Southern Utah because the penalty came in the second half of the game. If the penalty was in the first half, he would have had to sit out just the remainder of that game.
According to the NCAA’s 2021 Football Rules Book, it says under the penalty section of targeting that “the disqualification must be reviewed by Instant Replay (Rule 12-3-5).” However, the play couldn’t be confirmed or overturned at the time of the foul because Idaho’s replay system wasn’t working.
The Big Sky then referred to the subsection “for games in which instant replay is not used.” It’s noted that “if a player is disqualified in the second half, the conference has the option to consult the national coordinator of football officials, who would then facilitate a video review.
“Based on the review, if and only if the national coordinator concludes that the player should not have been disqualified, the conference may vacate the suspension. If the national coordinator supports the disqualification, the suspension for the next game will remain.”
Fans are asked to wear masks this season at home basketball games for the Montana men's and women's basketball teams. Both will be in action Wednesday night in the annual Maroon-Silver scrimmages. The women play first at 5 p.m. followed by the men at 6:30.
The women's scrimmage marks the first time fans will get to see first-year coach Brian Holsinger's team in action. Then there are those eight players most fans have never seen in person because of COVID-19, including Willa Albrecht and Kyndall Keller, who were freshman last season, and Nyah Morris-Nelson, who was a junior after transferring from Iowa Western.
“I’m curious how everyone will respond to being in front of people again. I’m not sure myself how they’ll respond,” said Holsinger, who was the associate head coach at Oregon State last season, then hired at Montana in April. "I know we’ll learn a lot. I’m excited just to play in a different kind of environment, even though it’s against ourselves, to see where we’re at. It will be fun.”
Frank Gogola covers Griz football and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at email@example.com.