Recognizing the worst penalty of the weekend


Hidden deep in the atrocious play of South Carolina’s secondary was a bogus targeting penalty called by SEC officials. Carolina DB Brison Williams hammered UCF WR Jeff Godfrey on the cleanest of hits, but he was called for targeting and ejected upon the initial call.

Related: What happened to you on Saturday?

Videos may not work on some mobile devices. You can watch the video on YouTube here.

Williams clearly hit the receiver with his shoulder, and the ejection was correctly overturned. However, the 15-yard penalty still stood.

Moving forward, if a penalty has to be reviewed to rule on an ejection, then the penalty itself has to be reviewable as well. Obviously, the rules state that only ejection is reviewable, but the penalty itself is not. This has to be changed. It has the potential to affect the outcome of games. What if a targeting penalty is called on a crucial third-down play late in the game? Instead of punting, an offense is rewarded 15 yards and a first down.

Alabama’s Eddie Jackson was also called for targeting and ejected against Ole Miss. This penalty was more bang-bang than South Carolina’s, but upon further review, he didn’t lead with his helmet and didn’t target. The ejection was overturned, but the called penalty was enforced.

Related: Current Bama staffer hammered on Twitter

Videos may not work on some mobile devices. You can watch the video on YouTube here.



You must be logged in to post a comment. Please sign in or register

  • Jon, has the NCAA made any comments on why they have the rule set up the way it is? I think the whole rule is stupid. But if they wanna have that rule, then fine. But the 15-yard penalty still being enforced just doesn’t make any sense at all to me.

  • Full discolsure, I am 40+ year Arkansas Razorback fan, so you know where my fan loyalties lie. That said, I want to applaud young Brison Williams no only for a good clean hit (aka playing the game the way it should be) but also for how he handled the ejection. No tantrums, no ripping off his helmet, just acknowledging his team mate…helmet on..chinstrap loosened…and trotting off the field. Very mature way to handle the situation when he had to know what the truth was before even the officials did..

  • I’m not going to go into whether or not the Alabama player’s hit was against the targeting rule or not. I just want to point out that once the ball was past Evan Engram, the Alabama player took 3 more steps before leveling him. With 3 steps left, he could have avoided hitting him at all.

    • Not saying he wasn’t guilty, but in slow motion it looks like he had a lot of time. But in reality, it’s game speed. These guys run 4’4 forty times. They really don’t have that much time. But it was a closer play to overturn than the south carolina one was.

    • Per NCAA rule 9-1-3: “No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul.”

      Now, notice it doesn’t say “a defensive player”… it says “no player”. One could easily argue that Engram himself dropped his head and “initiated contact against an opponent with the crown of his helmet.” It’s also, coincidentally, against the rules to hit a player out of bounds… yet I’m not seeing a distinct outcry from Ole Miss fans about the refs not flagging their man for doing just that.

      Is it a coincidence no Ole Miss fans seem concerned with either of those no-calls?

    • Perhaps you didn’t notice him slowing down and tucking his head to the left. I want to see you come to a dead stop from a full speed sprint!

  • It shouldn’t have been called on Williams. Jackson looked guilty though.

    • Leading with the shoulder, went low, would’ve hit him directly in the stomach if the Ole Miss WR didn’t duck. Not a foul.

      Regardless, targeting is the worst rule in college football.

      • In the stomach? Unless the defender was on his hands and knees, he would have hit above the stomach no matter what. The targeting rule states that if you hit at shoulder or above, then its targeting. While I don’t think it should be a penalty unless you aim directly for the head, that was targeting according to the rules. Note that its also a penalty to intentionally drop your head against a tackler.

  • This particular play caused a significant amount of yelling at the tv in this household on Saturday. Stupid stupid call. However, the NCAA is smart with this rule this year. It has nothing to do with protecting players….instead it’s only real purpose is to give the NCAA something to point to when they get sued over and over and over again concerning head injuries. All this is, is a major CYA on the NCAA’s part.

    Spurrier brought up a good point in the post game press conference though when he referred to the flag thrown late in the game on the play that resulted in a UCF touchdown, and he clearly pointed out the officials sure picked that one up….and then shrugged his shoulders.

    This is obviously a bad time for the NCAA…..major CYA time right now.

  • The Bama hit was clearly no foul either. The receiver had his head coming down and the DB even started to roll his shoulder. There’s no one who could have avoided that hit completely and that’s why it’s dumb when they only show the slow-mo replay. Either way it’s still funny that the only points Bo Wallace scored were safety points. He sure kept up on his word.

  • This rule, left unchanged, will destroy college football… If it’s doesn’t get changed, we’ll have to come up with a fun new acronym for NCAA like No Fun League for the NFL…

  • Dangerous high hits and helmet-to-helmet contact have to be controlled. I commend the NCAA for trying to do this (even if it was only CYA driven). But in its ever inept way, the NCAA has once again created more problems than it has solved.

    I have seen nine targeting calls made by officials (in person and on TV). All but 1 of them were not targeting as defined by the rules. TV replay proved them not to be targeting. On the other call the review was inconclusive and the officials call on the field stood.

    I understand the officials have a difficult job trying to keep up with the speed of the game and most of the time do a good job. too often we see a play on TV and criticize the officials for not making the right call but forget we saw the play in super slow motion replay from various angles. They saw it one time at full speed.

    I think the officials are erring on the side of caution and are throwing the flag on anything that looks near to targeting and are depending on the booth review to clean it up. However, an inclusive booth review does not mean the player actually targeted, only that the video was not conclusive enough to overturn the call on the field.

    There are so many variables to targeting such as the offensive player lowering his head, incidental contact, defensive player being shoved into the offensive player, defensive player going for the ball, the official’s view of the play and other factors that must be consider.

    However, nothing about the rule is more stupid than retaining the 15 yard penalty when the call is proven to NOT be an offense as defined by the rules. The NCAA should not wait until after the season to address a situation than can unfairly impact the outcome of a game. If they want to keep the 15 yard walk off then call it a high hit but don’t overturn the on-field ruling and then still assess the penalty yardage. That is like telling someone it was proven that they did not commit the crime they were charged with but because they were arrested they are going to get a prison sentence anyway.

  • The “targeting fouls” that I’ve see so far that have been overturned have extended drives by an offense that should have been sitting on the bench.. This rule is 100% bull crap.

  • THIS is exactly why offensive production is up. And I would love to hear an explanation to allowing the penalty to stand after the hit is deemed “clean”. That’s more laughable than the Manziel penalty.

  • The reasoning behind this idiotic rule is that, if you allow the penalty to be overturned by replay, referees would simply avoid calling the penalty for fear of being overturned.

    So yes, this rule was designed to protect referee’s egos so they wouldn’t get their little feelings hurt. It has to be the dumbest rule in the books.

  • the worst call was the targeting call against Jabari Gorman in the UF/kentucky game. Gorman clearly wrapped him up and cleanly hit him…not a shot like this one and he was called for targeting. and how come when the play is reviewed and overturned, the defense still gets a 15 yard penalty? for what? stupid rule…

  • I think that they need to look and see if the player was defenseless. If the player was deemed defenseless then keep the penalty, if not throw it out.

  • I agree with you on the South Carolina hit; however, the Alabama hit should not have been overturned. The Alabama player hit the guy in the head area, which the intention of the rule. He, also, hit him late. He had ample time to pull up. This doesn’t mean that I agree with the rule. – I think it’s a dumb ass rule, which is what you get when Lawyers are involved. The NCAA is covering their arses so that they won’t get sued, like the NFL. Lawyers are the cause of a lot of our problems, in society and they will continue to be.

    How can you reverse part of a call? I agree – the penalty needs to go away, as well.

    • He hit him in the shoulder.. clear as day.. get better glasses. Shoulder does not equal head and neck area.. btw.. even though the head and neck area is about the dumbest description of “where” a hit can take .. because it seems like they believe its, head, neck, shoulder and chest area..

  • Why don’t we just start calling this what it is.. its the “big hit” penalty. I guarantee, I could make the creator of these rules never tackle me correctly. I would simply lower my helmet into him.. and he would be at fault every time.. I guarantee he would not be able to make a legal tackle.. maybe someone needs to do this to that guy to get him to understand.

  • I actually side with the call. He launched himself (not targeting) at the receiver. Janzen Jackson at UT got called for the same thing in the Bowl Game against North Carolina a few years ago.

  • yes, yes, yes!!!! someone please tell me what morons decided it was ok to call a penalty, which can cause the ejection of a player, and then when it is found that the targeting didn’t actually happen, that they still enforce the penalty!!!!!? WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU ENFORCE THE PENALTY, IF IT IS FOUND THAT THE TARGETING DIDN’T HAPPEN??????????????????????????????????????????????????????? are the people who decide these things, actually that stupid? really? somebody needs to go off on these idiots, and beat some sense into them. how could anyone be so imbecilic as to make such a rule? furthermore, why hasn’t someone with a modicum of brain power pointed out how neanderthal this is? what possible excuse or reasoning could they have for reviewing the ejection, but not the penalty? if they rule that he didn’t target, then there should be NO PENALTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STUPIDITY IS OUT OF CONTROL IN THIS COUNTRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Snoop, calm down, you are about to get a blogger penalty. It has to be possible to commit a personal foul, or unnecessary roughness penalty regardless of the new targeting rule. The new targeting rule did not replace those concepts. The NCAA is saying we are going to protect athletes better with the old and new rules. Maybe you are too young to remember when football refs commonly flagged defenders for undefined thuggery.

  • This is a good new rule, It’s forcing officials to bring back the spirit of the old unnecessary roughness penalty. Athletes who go to the weight room every day for hours are just too powerful to get a free shot at defenseless players.

  • Does anyone feel like DJ Swearinger is the reason for this new rule? haha

Continue scrolling for more articles.