STARKVILLE — Mississippi State center Dillon Day will sit out the Bulldogs’ Oct. 4 game against No. 6 Texas A&M as a result of a one-game suspension announced by the Southeastern Conference on Tuesday.
The suspension stems from a pair of incidents during MSU’s 34-29 win over then-No. 8 LSU, incidents that saw Day land awkwardly on a pair of LSU defenders. In the days after MSU’s win, controversy swirled surrounding Day’s alleged stomping incidents, and LSU head coach Les Miles announced in his Monday press conference that the Tigers had turned in video of each incident to the league office, adding that he “hopes the conference does the right thing.”
On Tuesday, the league announced it was suspending Day, a fifth-year senior from Monroe, Louisiana.
In its official release Tuesday afternoon, the SEC noted “This action is the result of multiple flagrant and unsportsmanlike acts during the game, as well as previous disciplinary action for similar behavior.”
In his Tuesday night meeting with assembled media, MSU head coach Dan Mullen was swift to react.
Asked his opinion of Day’s conduct, Mullen said “I didn’t see anything wrong with it.”
And when the subject changed to Day’s eventual suspension, Mullen added, “We completely disagree with the ruling that was given to us by the league, but we are going to follow the commissioner’s decision.”
Day was suspended by the league for two separate incidents where he landed onto a fallen LSU player, both times with his right foot. The first incident, near LSU’s goal line early in the second quarter, featured a leaping Day landing with his right foot on the stomach of LSU defensive tackle Davin Godchaux. The second, which occurred in the third quarter, was similar. This time, Day’s foot landed on LSU cornerback Rashard Robinson, who stayed on the Tiger Stadium turf and required medical attention afterward.
Day also drew a penalty for unnecessary roughness in the game.
As for moving on without Day, Mullen was asked about replacing the senior center, who has started a team-high 38 games in his career.
“We will have to move a bunch of guys around and mix and mingle some things, no different than if he was injured,” Mullen said.
On Monday afternoon, Day used his Twitter account, @DoomzDAY63, to defend himself. The senior center posted a picture of a letter he penned to Mississippi State fans.
In that letter, Day said: “Here at Mississippi State, our coaches do not condone or allow illegal conduct. We are held to the highest standard both socially and athletically on and off the field. I never go into a game or play with the intention of hurting anyone. I apologize that it has been perceived that way. I try to give my all for my school and hustle to help us compete athletically on every play.”
By Tuesday, Day was suspended for MSU’s Oct. 4 game, a matchup that will likely feature a pair of unbeaten top 15 teams.
In that game, the Bulldogs will be without their most experienced offensive lineman in Day, who helped plow the road for an MSU rushing offense that delivered a season-high 302 yards against LSU, the highest total given up by the Tigers since 2004.
For the Bulldogs, the answer to replacing Day could lie in a number of places, including moving over starting guard Ben Beckwith or going with backup guard Devon Desper. For Mullen, the answer will be decided in the next few days.
“We have a lot of guys that can fill in, we’ve rolled a lot of guys through and we are comfortable with a number of players,” Mullen said. “It’s something that we’ll look at, we’ll mix and match and find the right rotation.”
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brandon Walker on Twitter @BWonStateBeat