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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Fans upset over targeting call on Ohio State’s Isaiah Pryor

Isaiah Pryor targeting

Ohio State safety Isaiah Pryor was ejected from the second half of Saturday night’s game against Penn State for targeting, a call many felt was unnecessary and inappropriate.

Trace McSorley completed a third-down pass to KJ Hamler in the fourth quarter of the game. Pryor came to help with the tackle and dipped his head down but ducked out of the way afterwards. His shoulder appeared to make contact with the diminutive Nittany Lions receiver’s head.

Most watching the game disputed the call for two reasons. One, they did not think it was targeting. Two, even if it was targeting, the thinking is there should be two types of penalties — one for a targeting hit with intent, which results in an ejection, and another for incidental targeting where the player remains in the game.

The current rule says that a player can be called for targeting for hitting a defenseless player in the head/neck area with their head/arm/shoulder. Considering the way the rule is written, the ejection was fair, even if it was harsh. But there probably should be a change to the rule to differentiate between vicious hits with seeming intent and ones involving more incidental contact, like this one. When Pryor is getting ejected for that and USC’s Porter Gustin stays in a game despite doing this, it’s a problem.

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