Targeting penalties on the rise as players, officials get used to rule

Tuesday, 17 October 2017, 11:56:28 PM. Targeting penalties are on the rise in the Big Ten and college football as a whole as players, coaches and officials learn what will get called and what won't.
Paddy Fisher heard the referee announce the words that are poison to a defensive player: "with targeting." He ambled over to the sideline, shaking his head. He appeared inconsolable. He first donned pads in the second grade and once said of growing up in Katy, Texas: "We eat, sleep and dream about football." Fisher knows what comes with targeting — an ejection. And if the infraction occurs in the second half, the player is disqualified for the first half of his next game. As replay officials reviewed the call, NU's middle linebacker found coach Pat Fitzgerald — NU's ultimate middle linebacker. "Paddy was really, really emotional, upset at himself," Fitzgerald said. "I tried to settle him down." Watching the replay, play-by play announcer Steve Levy commented: "Forcible contact in the head or neck area. That's textbook." Analyst Brian Griese agreed but added: "Boy, those were clean shots back when I was playing. That was the price of doing business." Targeting fouls are up nationally. And Northwestern, which had zero all of last season, committed two in the second half of its Oct. 7 game against Penn State. Fisher's came on a second-and-17. He unloaded on Trace McSorley a split second after the quarterback unleashed a pass. Fisher ducked as he slammed into McSorley but not enough. The helmet of the 6-4 linebacker slammed into the chin of the 6-foot quarterback. McSorley went flying. "Good call. Bad play on my part," Fisher said. "Should have let up. Need to be more...Read more
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