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Just How Bad is the Targeting Rule: An Analysis of Calls Against OSU from 2013-2019

+18 HS
elmird's picture
June 28, 2020 at 9:28pm

So I know that the concept of the targeting rule has been beaten to death and I was hoping to never hear of it again, however the world would not have it so. While watching some highlights of previous OSU games, I began noting all the targeting calls that had gone against the Bucks and been upheld by the replay booth. I understand any field official making a mistake on a "bang-bang" play, but I don't think there are any excuses for replay officials to make the same mistake. So what I did was try and find every upheld targeting call against OSU from the inception of the rule (2013) until this past season. From there I tried to discern: (1) Was the play actually targeting by the letter of the law? (2) If it was targeting, then what portion of the rule caused targeting to be invoked? (3) Was their intent to target the player? This last point seems especially important considering talks over making a targeting call similar to a flagrant 1/2 situation in basketball.


Bradley Roby vs Iowa

Call: Not Targeting - hit appears to be shoulder to chest. The Iowa player laying down injured seemed to influence that call.



Corey Smith vs Wisconsin

Call: Not targeting. However, could still be considered a blindside block



Kam Williams vs Penn state

Call: Targeting; led with crown of helmet. By letter of the law he dropped his head and made contact with the crown of the helmet. Tough luck on bang-bang play


Time stamp @ 30:20

Joey Bosa vs Notre Dame

Call: Targeting; led with crown of helmet. By letter of the law he dropped his head and made contact with the crown of the helmet




Dremont Jones vs Sparty

Call: Not Targeting; Pushes QB in the chest after the ball is gone. Roughing the passer at the absolute worst. Never a targeting cal


Denzel Ward vs Maryland

Call: Not Targeting. Just a horror show of a call. Big ten later apologizes


Nick Bosa vs Iowa

Call: Targeting; helmet to helmet; No need to lunge in there. Likely the most clear of the targeting calls which says something



Isiah Pryor vs Penn state

Call: Not Targeting; He is slowing down and is making minimal contact with a diving player. Hamler laying on the field is what seemed to draw the flag


Jordan Fuller vs Nebraska

Call: Targeting. Did make contact to the helmet of a player with his shoulder. Tough luck since the player is dropping out of mid-air



Shaun Wade

Call: Targeting; led with crown of helmet


Final Analysis: I realize this will all boil down to opinions, but the way I saw the 10 targeting calls that were upheld against OSU were:

- 5 correct Targeting Calls

- 5 incorrect Targeting Calls

- 9 Targeting calls without intent

- 1 Targeting call with intent (Bosa vs Iowa)

- All 5 incorrect (and some of the correct calls) were influenced by an injury after the hit. All of the flags were not thrown until their was a confirmed injury and time had elapsed since the play



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