Ohio State preseason All-American cornerback Bradley Roby was ejected with a little over a minute to go in the first quarter of Ohio State's game against Iowa for targeting. Roby became the first Buckeye ejected under the controversial penalty. Earlier in the day, three players in various SEC conference games were ejected, including an extremely debatable ejection in Georgia's contest against Vanderbilt.
Roby, who missed Ohio State's season opener after being suspended from an incident at a Bloomington, Indiana bar during the offseason, hasn't been on his game during the early portion of 2013. Looking tentative and at times out of position, Roby struggled to find consistency in Ohio State's win over Wisconsin and was beaten early and often by Badgers star Jared Abbrederis.
Though the home fans in Ohio Stadium reacted negatively upon seeing the replay, the call on the field (that was replayed and upheld) in real time looked to be the right one. Roby lowered his head and launched himself into Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. Fiedorowicz was a preseason Mackey Award watch list candidate for tight end of the year. Following Roby's ejection, Iowa continued their drive and hit a field goal to extend their lead to 10-3.
Here was the penalty that cost the Buckeyes 15 yard and their #1 cornerback:
But another angle made the call look more nebulous as the contact appears to be more of a shoulder-to-shoulder nature:
The actual targeting rule reads as follows:
- 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
From a letter of the law interpretation, the call would seem wrong. It's easy to give the on the field refs the benefit of the doubt since in real time it's awfully hard to tell. The second replay, which the replay official who upheld the ejection should've had access to, makes things far less cut and dry.
Even after the ejection, Roby had no problem taking to social media and letting Ohio State fans know his thoughts on what was to follow in the Ohio State-Iowa game:
We still gon get this W, believe that.— Bradley Roby (@BradRoby_1) October 19, 2013