Playing at Army in their second game as an FBS program on Saturday, the Liberty Flames accomplished something unusual: they had a punter get ejected for targeting.
And make no mistake. This was mega-targeting, an unofficial designation I’ve created to apply to hits that satisfy both definitions of a targeting foul in the NCAA rulebook:
- Hitting an opponent forcibly with the crown of your helmet.
- Hitting a defenseless opponent forcibly in the head/neck area.
You only have to do one of those things to be guilty of targeting and get thrown out of the game. But some targeting fouls are so obvious that they meet both criteria. This, by Liberty punter Aidan Alves, is certainly one of those times. The Black Knights’ Mike Reynolds is giving himself up and going to the ground, making him a defenseless opponent under the second bullet point above, and the punter also launches into him with his helmet.
(We can argue about whether Reynolds is giving himself up, but he’s clearly on his way down and making no effort to keep running from the two LU players enclosing him.)
Alves, for his part, looked dismayed:
Tough, but his ejection was one of the easiest calls that officiating crew will ever make.