NOTRE DAME — Notre Dame linebacker Ben Councell lost his appeal with the NCAA to overturn a targeting ejection penalty and will sit out the first half against Arizona State on Saturday, Oct. 5.
Councell, a backup outside linebacker for the Irish, was disqualified for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oklahoma running back Brennan Clay midway through the fourth quarter in Notre Dame’s loss to the Sooners on Saturday.
Notre Dame and head coach Brian Kelly attempted to overturn the suspension, arguing that Councell’s helmet-to-helmet contact with Clay was unintentional. Kelly told reporters on Tuesday that Councell’s suspension has been upheld. Because the hit came in the second half against Oklahoma, the suspension carries over to the first half of the Arizona State game.
Kelly said sophomore Romeo Okwara will fill in for Councell behind starting outside linebacker Jaylon Smith for the first half of Saturday’s contest.