Urban Meyer Was 'Irate' with Denzel Ward Targeting Call; Big Ten Agrees

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2017

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 7:  Denzel Ward #12 of the Ohio State Buckeyes hits Taivon Jacobs #12 of the Maryland Terrapins after a reception in the first quarter at Ohio Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. Ward was ejected from the game after being assessed a targeting penalty for the hit.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Ohio State Buckeyes had little trouble dispensing the Maryland Terrapins during their 62-14 win on Saturday, but head coach Urban Meyer was "irate" his team lost cornerback Denzel Ward to a targeting penalty in the first quarter.

On Tuesday, Dan Murphy of ESPN.com reported the news and noted Big Ten officials admitted Meyer was correct. Ohio State submitted a complaint to the conference's office, and the Big Ten announced replay officials should have overturned the call and prevented Ward's ejection.

Ward appeared to force a fumble—which Ohio State would have likely returned for a touchdown—with a hard hit on wide receiver Taivon Jacobs, but officials stopped the play and called it an incomplete pass and targeting. The call was confirmed via replay.

"Concerned, irate, all of the above," Meyer said when discussing the targeting, per Murphy. "It's not the person on the field. Those are snap judgments. I still to this day don't understand how that happens, but that's for the higher-ups to figure out. Concerned is probably not strong enough."

Ward wasn't the only Buckeye to be ejected from Saturday's contest against Maryland. Fellow defensive back Damon Arnette hit quarterback Max Bortenschlager as the latter was sliding, drawing a targeting penalty and ejection.

While neither proved costly in the game against the Terrapins, Arnette's is more concerning long term for Ohio State because his came in the second half. That means he will miss the first half of the team's upcoming contest at Nebraska, putting additional pressure on Ward and the rest of the secondary until he is eligible to return in the second half.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the Cornhuskers are a mere 63rd in the nation in passing yards per game and aren't well-equipped to take advantage of the shorthanded secondary.