Notre Dame LB Ben Councell Ejected for Targeting vs. Oklahoma
Notre Dame linebacker Ben Councell was ejected for targeting against Oklahoma, the result of a third-down play where he lowered his crown into Sooners running back Brennan Clay:
As correctly pointed out by ASUDevils.com, since the ejection took place in the second half, Councell will likely have to miss the first half of next week's game:
Notre Dame starting junior LB Ben Councell ejected for targeting in fourth quarter vs Oklahoma. Will miss first half against ASU if upheld.— ASUDevils.com (@ASUDevilscom) September 28, 2013
To state the obvious, this is exactly why the targeting rule was created. Councell led with his own crown, made contact with Clay's crown and didn't give his opponent the chance to defend or shield himself from the hit.
Though targeting is a subject of much debate—especially when it's improperly (and hastily) enforced—it is hard not to agree with it after instances like this. Prior to 2013, Councell might not have been ejected from the game.
And after issuing a head-to-head blow like that, an ejection was plenty warranted.
Some might call it the "wussification" of sports, and others might jest that this "isn't flag football," but head-related injuries are a serious threat to America's new pastime. Hits like the one Councell delivered put the sport (and its players) in serious danger, and they need to be negatively enforced.
Does the targeting rule need some tweaking? Sure. If the refs are allowed to review the play and overturn an ejection (which they are), they should also be allowed to pick up the 15-yard flag (which they aren't). That's just common sense.
But for those who think it shouldn't exist, look no further than this play. That's a hit the sport can no longer tolerate.
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