Star LSU LB Devin White will miss first half of Alabama game after iffy targeting penalty

LSU linebacker Devin White was ejected for targeting late in the second half of the Tigers’ 19-3 win against Mississippi State. With No. 5 LSU dominating, White’s ejection wasn’t a big deal for the rest of the game against the No. 22 Bulldogs. It’s a really big deal for LSU’s next game.

Players who get tossed for targeting in the second half of a game have to sit out the first half of their team’s next game. With LSU off next week, the Tigers’ next game is vs. Alabama, meaning one of the Tigers’ best defensive players will be sidelined for the first half of the team’s biggest game of the season.

There’s an argument to be made that it wasn’t really targeting either. Watch the hit.

Devin White will miss the first half vs. Alabama (via ESPN)
Devin White will miss the first half vs. Alabama (via ESPN)

White doesn’t lead with his head. He’s got his arms ahead of his head. It just so happens that his helmet makes contact with Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald’s helmet. One of the facets of targeting is a player leading with the crown of his helmet. It’s hard to see how White did that here. But the SEC said that Fitzgerald was defenseless. From LSU’s site:

By rule, no player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent. The QB on the play was defenseless at the time of the contact. By rule, all targeting calls are reviewed. The call was reviewed and confirmed.

It’s a tough break for LSU, which looked legit against Mississippi State on Saturday. It should be crazy in Baton Rouge when Tua Tagovailoa and the Crimson Tide are there Nov. 3. White’s just going to have to wait a half to get in on the action.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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