End Zone: BGSU Falcons

The targeting rule is a no-win situation for officials


  • Let's be clear here: I am in favor of player safety in college football. But Rule 9-1-4 – the "targeting" rule – is a bad rule that doesn't even accomplish that goal.

    The targeting rule is a no-win situation for officials, who are forced to make bang-bang judgments on high-speed plays, and at times results in the ejection of a player who doesn't deserve it (need I say "Bradley Roby," OSU fans?).

    Worse are plays where the player appears to break that rule and isn't penalized. Take, for example, the Toledo-BG game, when Falcons QB Matt Johnson seems destined for the end zone, only to be spun around on a huge hit by UT's Ethan Kagy.

    It was a great hit. It was a game-changing hit, because it kept Johnson out of the end zone, and BG eventually was forced to kick a field goal. It also seems to be illegal because Kagy led with the crown of his helmet.

    Disagree? That's fine, because it points to a bigger problem: Remember Johnson groggily getting up after the hit? If that play IS legal, it didn't do anything to make Johnson safe.

    The word is Rule 9-1-4 will be reviewed after the season. Hopefully in this case "reviewed" is code for "eliminated."

    Contact John Wagner at:, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.