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ACC, NCAA say Jacobbi McDaniel hit on C.J. Brown was not targeting

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Maryland submitted the Jacobbi McDaniel hit on C.J. Brown that knocked Brown from the game with a concussion for review of a potential targeting call. The ACC and the NCAA reviewed the play, and not surprisingly, there was no targeting.

McDaniel came in head up, with his facemask and shoulder, and struck Brown in the chest. That just doesn't fit targeting. This was an easy call for the NCAA and ACC. Let's look at the rule.

No player shall target and initiate contact vs. opponent with the crown of his helmet.

No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent.

McDaniel initiates (this is key) with his facemask and shoulder. Of course, as a defender drives into the opponent, the crown may make contact, but the initiation was not with the crown. And he did not initiate the contact to the head or neck area, but rather the chest, below the arm pits.

Let's look at some targeting guidelines from the NCAA. McDaniel's hit on Brown does not fit any of these.

According to a handout produced by College Football Officiating, LLC, if officials see the following things, the risk of a targeting foul is high:

  • Launching toward an opponent to make contact in the head or neck area.
  • A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust with contact at the head or neck area.
  • Leading with the helmet, forearm, fist, hand or elbow into the head or neck area.
  • Lowering the head before attacking and initiating with the crown of the helmet.

There might be an argument that this could be roughing the passer, or a late hit, but this certainly was not targeting. And even if it were roughing the passer, it is close, and not the sort of foul that is so outside the scope of play as to warrant a suspension.

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