This is most certainly not allowed.
In the second quarter of Friday’s TCU-SMU battle for the Iron Skillet, SMU’s Anthony Rhone picked off TCU quarterback Kenny Hill at the Mustangs’ 5-yard line.
Horned Frogs receiver John Diarse was Hill’s intended recipient, and he peeled out of the frame after Rhone intercepted the pass. But SMU safety Darrion Millines launched himself into Diarse and sent him flying.
Millines got an exceptionally well-deserved ejection for targeting. It’s absolutely the correct call, as targeting doesn’t just apply to head-to-head hits. The relevant rule here reads like this, with some bolding from me:
No player shall target and make forcible contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. This foul requires that there be at least one indicator of targeting ... When in question, it is a foul.
Those indicators of a targeting foul include these:
Launch—a player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make forcible contact in the head or neck area
A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area, even though one or both feet are still on the ground
Leading with helmet, shoulder, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area
And there’s this:
No player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent ... with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder.
Lowering the head before attacking by initiating forcible contact with the crown of the helmet
Millines does a bunch of these things. He catapults himself into an obviously defenseless receiver who doesn’t see him and isn’t doing anything even remotely football-related (not that it’d be OK if he were). He hits him around the head and neck.
Fortunately, Diarse returned to the game and has put together a couple of catches. But that doesn’t make Millines’ hit any less reckless or obviously illegal.