Pereira blog: Stanford's Skov avoids blatant targeting penalty
NOV 23, 2013 6:30p ET
One thing you can say about me is I'm consistent in my dislike for inconsistency.
Targeting. I dread it more and more every week.
The latest "inconsistency" came Saturday in the second quarter of the Cal-Stanford game. Here was the situation:
Cal had the ball, third-and-9 at the Bears' 38-yard line with 13:46 left in the second quarter. Stanford led 28-10. Cal quarterback Jared Goff attempted a pass to Richard Rodgers that was incomplete. Goff got hit by Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov after the pass and, to me, it looked like targeting.
College football officiating put out targeting and crown-of-the-helmet guidelines to help the officials decide what is and what isn't a foul. And on this play, I think Skov committed three of the four key indicators as they are defined as a foul:
1) A player launching (leaving his feet) to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make contact in the head or neck area.
Skov did that.
2) Leading with the helmet, forearm, fist, hand, elbow to attack with contact in the head or neck area.
Skov did that.
3) Lowering with the head before attacking by initiating contact with the crown of the helmet.
And Skov completed the trifecta here.
Here's my problem with the rule: Skov stays in for the remainder of the game, while others who do get called for maybe less egregious hits end up being disqualified for the remainder of the game. And if it was in the second half, they also miss the first half of the next game.
Inconsistency is an issue with this rule, as I continue to say almost every week.
The old saying goes, good things come in threes.
Well, UCLA will certainly second that.
Here was the situation: Arizona State had the ball, fourth-and-9 from the ASU 36-yard line with 9:56 left in the third quarter. Arizona State led 35-20. ASU punter Alex Garoutte kicked the ball 46 yards, and the ball was returned 22 yards to the UCLA 40-yard line by Randall Goforth.
This is when it got interesting. UCLA was penalized five yards for having two No. 3's on the field at the same time -- Goforth and Darius Bell.
In the NCAA rule book, it states under Rule 1, Section 4, Article 2: No two players on the same team shall participate in the same down wearing identical numbers.
So it was a five-yard penalty from the previous spot. Arizona State then had a choice to make -- either decline the penalty or accept it and then re-kick from five yards closer. The Sun Devils elected to re-kick the ball.
Garoutte was in punt formation and he fumbled the snap after being pressured by Kenny Orjioke. UCLA's Anthony Barr picked up the ball and returned it to the ASU 15-yard line.
Four plays later the Bruins scored to cut the ASU lead to 35-27.
Obviously, Arizona State would like to have had that call back. A big decision on a simple five-yard penalty that in the end turned very costly.
Football is a game of numbers. And on Saturday, the No. 3 was especially good to UCLA.