In his press conference Wednesday, Ohio State coach Ryan Day said he went looking for answers after a hard hit made against wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. in the College Football Playoff semifinal Dec. 31.
In the third quarter against No. 1 Georgia, Harrison absorbed a hit from safety Javon Bullard while trying to pull in a reception on the back line of the end zone. The hit was first ruled targeting, but was later overturned by the officiating crew.
The overturned call was something Day vehemently disagreed with.
“I made a lot of calls after the game,” Day said Wednesday. “I felt like it was targeting. In the moment, when things are moving very fast and you can’t see the replay, it’s very hard to see. The hard thing for me is to see and understand that and have our medical staff let us know that he was knocked unconscious and that’s why we’re not going to let him back in the game, yet the flag gets picked up for targeting.”
Harrison was removed from the game and was evaluated in the medical tent on the sideline for a concussion before he was ruled out for the rest of the 42-41 loss.
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Day said he spoke with officials from the Big Ten and called the Pac-12 for an explanation on the overturned call to which he heard the targeting rule “wasn’t forcible enough.”
Day later asked to speak to Steve Shaw, the NCAA’s National Coordinator of Officials, who told him “the hit didn’t go right to Marvin’s head” but was aimed at his shoulder.
“I completely disagree with that, but that was the decision that was made,” Day said.
How does the NCAA define targeting?
According to NCAA rules, targeting should be called for forcible contact against an opponent with the crown of the helmet or if a “player makes forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder.”
“When in question,” the rulebook notes, “it is a foul.”
The foul can he indicated by a “launch” or crouch where the player leaves their feet to “attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust” to the head or neck area; leading with the helmet, shoulder, forearm, first, hand or elbow to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area, or “lowering the head before attacking by initiating forcible contact with the crown of the helmet.”
Per NCAA rules, the “defenseless player” can be a receiver attempting to catch a forward pass that has “not had time to protect themselves or has not clearly become a ball carrier.”
After the game, Harrison called Bullard’s hit “just a football hit” in a “physical game.”
“I’m OK,” Harrison said after the Peach Bowl loss.
Ohio State football schedule 2023
Here’s what Ohio State’s 2023 football schedule looks like.
Sept. 2: Ohio State vs. Indiana, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana
Sept. 9: Ohio State vs. Youngstown State, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 16: Ohio State vs. Western Kentucky, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 23: Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
Oct. 7: Ohio State vs. Maryland, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Oct. 14: Ohio State vs. Purdue, Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Indiana
Oct. 21: Ohio State vs. Penn State, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Oct. 28: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin, Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisconsin
Nov. 4: Ohio State vs. Rutgers, SHI Stadium, Piscataway, New Jersey
Nov. 11: Ohio State vs. Michigan State, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Nov. 18: Ohio State vs. Minnesota, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Nov. 25: Ohio State vs. Michigan, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ryan Day disagrees with Marvin Harrison Jr. non-targeting call