The Mississippi State Bulldogs will be without starting defensive lineman Nick James and second-string wide receiver Malik Dear for their season-opener against South Alabama.
The team announced the suspensions less than an hour before the noon kickoff, along with the news that Nick Fitzgerald would start at quarterback.
DL Nick James and WR Malik Dear will not play today due to violation of team rules, in addition to Jeff Simmons' previously announced susp.
— Bob Carskadon (@bobcarskadon) September 3, 2016
Suspensions: Nick James and Jeffery Simmons, Malik Dear. OUT: Will Coleman, Cedric Jiles and Tolando Cleveland.
— Michael Bonner (@MikeBBonner) September 3, 2016
Both suspensions come as a violation of team rules. James was arrested Sunday morning and charged with public intoxication, but the city of Starkville chose not to prosecute. The events leading to Dear’s suspension are unknown.
In 10 starts from the inside of Mississippi State’s defensive line last season, James made 26 tackles including three for loss. Dear, as a true freshman, caught 22 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
James and Dear join Jeffery Simmons as suspended for the opening week. Simmons was video-taped in March hitting a woman but the Bulldogs suspended the 5-star defensive line recruit for only one game.
Mississippi State’s season-opener vs. South Alabama kicks off at noon ET and can be watched on SEC Network.