Nick Rallis will have to sit out the first half of the Gophers game at Nebraska on Saturday. That’s both unfortunate and unfair.
Rallis was ejected for targeting late in a 44-31 win over Purdue. Watching the play the first time and subsequently several more times this morning, I’m perplexed why the targeting call was upheld on review.
Rallis lowers his head as he closes on the Purdue receiver, but he makes contact with his shoulder on Gregory Phillips’ shoulder. It looks like a hard but legal hit under the definition of targeting.
Unless I haven’t seen every angle available, Rallis didn’t strike the receiver with the crown of his helmet or appear to hit Phillips in the head or neck area.
“Good tackle with the shoulder,” Big Ten Network analyst Glen Mason said on the broadcast.
The official didn’t throw his flag until the two teams were lining up for the next play.
The broadcast asked Mike Pereira, former NFL referee and current FOX rules analyst, for his opinion.
“I really don’t think this as targeting,” he said. “I certainly would like to see them reverse this and take it off. Yes, there’s a lower of the head but to me it’s almost all shoulder to shoulder.”
I asked Tracy Claeys after the game if teams can’t ask the Big Ten to review targeting penalties during the week for possible overturn so that a player isn’t forced to miss the first half of the next game.
“I don’t know but I would doubt it,” he said, noting that he would inquire.
A Big Ten official passed along through a school official that the league does not review targeting calls for overturn.
Why not? What’s the harm in having the supervisor of officials review those cases to determine if the on-field officials and replay official ruled incorrectly in the heat of the moment?
I would argue that same thing if a Purdue player was in Rallis’ position. Or any player from any team.
Targeting is a necessary and good rule for college football because safety should be paramount. Targeting punishes players who are reckless on the field.
The problem I see is that the penalty is called inconsistently across college football. Sometimes it’s hard to know what is targeting and what’s not. How was the hit Leidner took last season at Ohio State not targeting but the one by Rallis was?
Targeting becomes tricky when the offensive player ducks his head or slides right before contact. The defender is put in a difficult position in those instances.
Six Gophers players have been ejected for targeting this season. A couple of those were no-brainers, easy calls. A couple looked borderline. An argument could be made either way.
The one on Rallis was baffling. And now the senior linebacker has to watch the first half at Nebraska from the locker room in a critical game.
Again, I wonder why the Big Ten doesn’t review all targeting calls after the fact to make sure the call is 100 percent correct before punishing players the next game.