Targeting Penalty Against Iowa Proving To Be Costly
Iowa football players and coaches are becoming experts this week on the targeting rule in college football. Last week against Minnesota, linebacker Amani Jones was called for targeting after a hit on a receiver in the middle of the field. It was a hard hit, no doubt. You could hear it POP in real time and during replays. After replay, the call was upheld and Jones was ejected. But since the penalty took place so late in the game, Jones will also miss the first half of THIS week's game at Indiana.
So what is the rule on targeting? The official NCAA definition is when "a player takes aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with forcible contact that goes beyond making a legal tackle a legal block or playing the ball." Jones' hit certainly wasn't dirty, or a cheap shot. He even used his shoulder to lead in the tackle and not his helmet. However, the receiver was in a defenseless position and in the age of player safety we live in, that play will almost always be called.
The penalty really hurts because Jones will now have to sit out the first half of the Indiana game on Saturday. The Hawkeyes are already thin a middle linebacker with two players already out with injuries. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says that the team will live with the penalty and that it's another example of football in the day and age we live in.