Michigan LB escapes targeting penalty after hit that fits the definition of targeting

Michigan linebacker Devin Bush delivers a hit during the game against Florida. (ESPN)
Michigan linebacker Devin Bush delivers a hit during the game against Florida. (ESPN)

The continued varied interpretations on what is and isn’t targeting in college football are amazing.

Michigan linebacker Devin Bush was called for a late hit on Florida’s first offensive drive during the Wolverines’ game vs. the Gators on Saturday. Officials watching replays of the game then summoned a review for potential targeting.

Watch the replay. As the hit was reviewed, it was pretty obvious that Bush was going to get called for targeting and kicked out of the game.


The definition of targeting is when a player makes “forcible contact” to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent or makes a hit with the crown of his helmet to another player.

Bush’s hit pretty much fits both of those criteria. His head was down and Florida receiver Tyrie Cleveland was in no position to defend himself. While Bush doesn’t make direct head-to-head contact with Cleveland, it appears to be a (relatively) glancing blow with Cleveland’s face mask before making “forcible contact” to his head with his shoulder.

Had this been called targeting on the field it’s hard not to think that it would have been upheld and Bush would have been tossed. But since it wasn’t, he got to stay in the game.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!