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VOD: Did Ole Miss’ Trae Elston deserve a suspension for this hit?

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

Today's Video of the Day comes from the Ole Miss-UTEP game last weekend.

It's not so much the video itself that's intriguing, but rather the SEC actions that followed it.

In the video, freshman safety Trae Elston lays out UTEP receiver Jordan Leslie as he's trying to catch a potential pass. The hit isn't early and it appears as though Elston uses his shoulder and hits Leslie in the chest knocking him to the ground.

The hit is violent and Leslie stayed on the ground for several minutes before ultimately leaving the field under his own power. But the play was not flagged.

However, the SEC suspended Elston on Tuesday after a review of the film deemed the hit to be "flagrant." Elston will not be allowed to play against No. 14 Texas this weekend.

Here's what the SEC said in a statement to the media:

The action is in violation of Rule 9-1-4 of the NCAA Football Rule Book, which reads, "No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder," and Rule 9-1-3 which states, "No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet."

This action is taken in accordance with Southeastern Conference Constitution, Article 4.4.2 (d) which states that a student-athlete may be suspended if it is determined that the student-athlete has committed a flagrant or unsportsmanlike act.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement that he was disappointed to lose Elston, but said little beyond that. SEC spokesman Chuck Dunlap told the Clarion Ledger there was no appeals process and that the decision from the league was final.

So what do you think? Was the hit a flagrant attempt to injure a defenseless player or was it just a football play?

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