By The Associated Press
Another college football Saturday, another defender ejected for targeting.
Actually, at least 10 more players were tossed for the penalty, with No. 24 Wisconsin and Miami each losing two defenders.
“There’s always the gray, and yet it’s been clear, the officials are always going to err on the side of player safety,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said.
No. 4 Michigan State lost a key linebacker in a 35-21 win over Air Force when Riley Bullough was flagged with 2:49 left.
Wisconsin lost inside linebacker Leon Jacobs in the first quarter for a hit on Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers that popped his helmet off, and cornerback Derrick Tindal was tossed late in the third for a hit on receiver Ismail Saleem at the end of a catch.
The Badgers beat Troy 28-3. Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert said football requires split-second decisions and he didn’t necessarily agree with the ejections.
“It’s the ref’s call,” Schobert said. “They’re doing a job trying to look out for payer safety. You’ve got to respect that.”
The NCAA added automatic ejection in addition to a 15-yard penalty for targeting in 2013. All ejections were subject to video review, and ejected players were forced to sit out the first half the next game as well. The rule was modified in last season, wiping out the 15-yard penalty if the ejection was overturned on review.
The first two weeks of this season featured 19 targeting penalties in 163 Football Bowl Subdivision games compared to 14 in 158 games through the first two weeks of the 2014 season, according to statistics kept by NCAA officials.
There were more on Saturday.
Wyoming cornerback Robert Priester was ejected in the fourth quarter for targeting Washington State receiver River Cracraft. Washington State coach Mike Leach said after the game that he was not a big fan of the targeting rule.
“There’s too much gray area,” Leach said. He also said ejection from the game was too harsh a penalty.
Miami lost safeties Deon Bush and Jamal Carter in the fourth quarter against Nebraska with the Hurricanes holding on in overtime for a 36-33 win.
No. 13 LSU lost linebacker Deion Jones in the fourth quarter of a 45-21 win over No. 18 Auburn. Jones was flagged for a high hit on Jeremy Johnson just after the Auburn quarterback threw a short pass, and LSU coach Les Miles said Jones has to learn.
“We talk about this,” Miles said. “It’s not like we leave it un-coached. … We coach that at the start of the season. We coach that in several meetings and he’s got to get it right. And he will. He’s a quality man and a good teammate, so it will be important to him, I promise.”
Texas safety Dylan Haines was ejected in the first quarter of the Longhorns’ game for a hit on California tight end Stephen Anderson. And Colorado defenseman Jimmie Gilbert was ejected on the first play of overtime for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Colorado State quarterback Nick Stevens.
Maryland running back Wes Brown was the lone offensive player ejected. He was ejected for making a tackle on an interception by South Florida with helmet-to-helmet contact at the end of the play. Maryland won 35-17.
AP Sports Writers Genaro Armas, Brett Martel, Pat Graham and Nick Geranios contributed to this report.
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org
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