Kankolongo suspended for targeting

Just minutes before coach Dave Christensen’s Monday news conference, media members got word that Wyoming junior linebacker Nehemie Kankolongo was suspended for one game by the Mountain West for targeting.

This coming after a hit by Kankolongo on Air Force running back Anthony LaCoste on a

Nehemie Kankolongo

Nehemie Kankolongo

kickoff return in the second quarter. It was a big hit. It caused a fumble, UW recovered and scored a touchdown en route to its 56-23 road victory.

There was no penalty on Kankolongo on the play. There was a penalty, but it was for too much celebrating by the Cowboys. The MW reviewed the play, and made its decision, and according to its press release had the right to make that decision.

What do you think folks, was this targeting and should Kankolongo have been suspended? Let me know what you think.

From what replays I saw, it looked like he used his arm to make the initial hit. One could argue he lunged his body toward LaCoste, but it also looked like he was blocked or pushed into him as well.

I feel bad for Kankolongo. At least, for UW’s sake, he wasn’t a starter on offense and defense, but he has been a good special teams player. He was a backup to junior outsidle linebacker Mark Nzeocha, but sophomore Malkaam Muhammad is now.

The MW didn’t respond to emails late Monday afternoon, but Kankolongo is believed to be the first player in the league suspended for a game for targeting. There were seven players from around the nation suspended after the first weekend of play.

Here are some other news and notes from Monday’s news conference and news of the day:

— The Manning Award named UW junior starting quarterback Brett Smith one of its eight national “Stars of the Week” Monday. The Manning Award allows fans to vote for its Manning Award Player of the Week by going to the Allstate Sugar Bowl Facebook page.  When voting closes on Thursday at 10 a.m. the top vote-getter will be announced as the Manning Award Player of the Week.

Here’s the link:


The other candidates for this week’s award are:Terrance Broadway, UL-Lafayette; Derek Carr, Fresno State; Sean Mannion, Oregon State; Aaron Murray, Georgia; Gary Nova, Rutgers; Bryce Petty, Baylor; Tom Savage, Pittsburgh.

Smith was one of 30 quarterbacks named to the 2013 Manning Award Preseason Watch List.

— Texas State coach Dennis Franchione on Smith: “We played him when he was a freshman and he wasn’t like a freshman then. He’s probably like a 10-year guy in the NFL by now, maybe not 10 but maybe six.” UW beat Texas State 45-10 in that game.

— In some of the latest bowl projections, cbssports.com has UW playing Alabama-Birmingham in the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24. Collegefootballnews.com has the Cowboys playing Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl Dec. 21.

— Junior linebacker Jordan Stanton was credited with an extra tackle against Air Force to give him 10, which tied for team-high honors with redshirt freshman linebacker Lucas Wacha. Junior receiver Jalen Claiborne, who wears the same jersey No. 1 as Stanton, was given credit for a tackle that should have gone to Stanton.

— Junior defensive tackle Troy Boyland was listed on the participation chart for UW after the Air Force game. That was wrong. Boyland didn’t play and UW is hoping to redshirt him.

— There were no changes on the depth chart heading into the Texas State game, other than senior Spencer Bruce moved ahead of junior J.D. Krill as the starting tight end.

— The only player listed as out for UW this week is junior receiver Trey Norman. He also missed the Air Force game. The Cowboys get junior receiver Keenan Montgomery and junior safety Jesse Sampson back this week. Sampson has been out since the spring with an Achilles injury.

For more on UW football, see Tuesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and log on to wyosports.net.

7 thoughts on “Kankolongo suspended for targeting

  1. This suspension is straight up horse puckey! Wait a few weeks and Kankalongo will probably find a way to get into Christensen’s doghouse and get himself suspended.

    • The MWC suspended him not Coach C. Nehimie has had a tough go of it, but if he does what he is supposed to he will stay out of the dog house. It is obvious he likes the program and the coaches.

  2. I watched the replay of the hit a few times and I just don’t see it. To me, looks like he lowered his shoulder going into the blocker then continued through to the ball carrier. I remember thinking the initial contact with the carrier was with his arms, but I can’t find a replay now. Just bad luck that he was lowered because of the blocker and his helmet ended up being where it was. Doesn’t targeting rule require that the receiver be defenseless? How does a ball carrier running behind blockers become defenseless?

    It was a monster hit, glad the AFA cadet was okay.

  3. Seems difficult to me that any decision about the intent if the hit can be made when his trajectory was altered by the block he received just prior to the hit which clearly altered his path to the ball carrier. What disgusts me more as a physician is the the RB who was clearly knocked unconscious was allowed back in the game violating every concussion protocol out there!

  4. I thought it was a legal hit and a good one at that. Have you heard anything about the Air Force band member who collapsed? that looked more serious that the Kakolongo hit

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