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Targeting calls become a focus for OSU defense

Matt BuckeyeInsider

There is no penalty that has brought more ire to fans and coaches more than targeting.

In an effort to protect offensive players, the targeting rule was created to eliminate hits to the head and neck area.

It has become a controversial rule, though, because it is not always clear cut. 

There are some obvious targeting penalties, like the one Ohio State’s Damon Arnette committed late in last week’s win over Maryland. Arnette clearly made contact with the head of Maryland quarterback Max Bortenschlager, and he deserved to be penalized and thrown out of the game.

“I saw Damon’s right in front of me,” said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer after the game. “(The score was) 55 to whatever it was, and I’m so angry about that ... Not very bright.”

However, there have also been many situations when the defensive player delivers a legal blow to the chest area, only for it to be deemed targeting.

Such was the case for Denzel Ward earlier in the Maryland game. Ward, considered Ohio State’s best defensive back, drilled Maryland’s Taivon Jacobs in the chest as he tried to catch a pass. While it was a hard hit, it did not violate the targeting rule as it is written. No contact was made to the head or neck area.

But that didn’t stop Ward from being penalized. What made it worse was that the replay official confirmed the call and Ward was ejected from the game.

“Concerned, irate,” said Meyer of his reaction to the penalty during his Big Ten teleconference Tuesday. “It’s not the person on the field. Those are the snap judgments. I still to this day don’t understand how that happens, but that’s for higher-ups to figure out.”

Ohio State’s coaching staff, as well as the throng of Ohio State fans that were screaming about the call, were vindicated this week after the Big Ten informed the school that Ward should not have been called for targeting. The conference said the replay official should have overturned the call on the field.

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