Big Ten Admits Error in Denzel Ward Ejection

Denzel Ward Ohio State Football Buckeyes

Sometimes even replay officials get a call wrong.

Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward was flagged for targeting on Maryland receiver Taivon Jacobs in the first half of Saturday’s game between the Buckeyes and the Terrapins. The photo above is one snapshot of the play in question. The penalty was upheld after review and Ward was ejected from the game.

Speaking on Tuesday’s weekly Big Ten coaches teleconference, OSU head coach Urban Meyer was asked about the call and whether he had heard back about it from the Big Ten.

It turns out that Ohio State wasn’t just going to sit by and wait, as they included it in their weekly tape of questionable calls sent to the B1G offices.

“What you do is you turn it in each week and we’ll have a guy on our staff call the Big Ten officiating,” Meyer explained. “And the report back was that on the field it was a snap judgment, but the replay official was in error. So we’re going to reward Denzel Ward today at practice for a caused fumble. He should not have been ejected and it was mistaken.”

Not only should Ward not have been ejected, the play should have been allowed to continue, which would have ended in a forced fumble by Ward and a fumble return for a touchdown by him as well. Instead, he was ejected for his troubles.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the game was never in doubt, but one day it might be, and that scenario absolutely concerns Urban Meyer.

“Concerned. Irate. All of the above,” he said. “And it’s not the person on the field. Those are snap judgments. You can’t… I still to this day I don’t understand how that happens, but that’s for the higher ups to figure out. Yeah, of course. ‘Concerned’ is probably not strong enough.”

25 Responses

  1. Every week you see running backs lowering helmets and making head contact with would be tacklers in an effort to run them over. How is that not targeting?. I have seen tacklers flagged because of running back initiating this contact. Running backs should be flagged for this.

  2. Tony needs to admit error as well publishing that article about how the call was correct… I see it’s down now at least

    1. You need to check the comments on that. It is still up. No reason to take it down.

    2. Reading Comprehension is needed by a fair few on this site. Well done Tony on both articles on the Ward ejection.

    3. Oh my gosh… my bad Tony… I missed your sarcasm… I thought you had “lost it”… great article *feeling dumb* LOL

  3. Just a MESS of a rule! Btw, there is a TON of targeting that goes on in football where the targeter misses the targetee but not for lack of effort. Should thay be penalized?

  4. While I’m at it, don’t down linemen on BOTH sides of the ball technically “lead” with their helmets when the ball is snapped, play after play? After all, due to nothing other than the physical construction of the human body, their heads MUST be protruding forward when in the down position and properly stanced. And, since offensive and defensive linemen typically line up face to face with one another, about 12 inches apart, isn’t it also true that the helmets of oppositional linemen MUST collide in some form upon the snap? Gee, maybe line play needs to be reviewed from the first snap, so guys from both lines can be ejected for ‘targeting” as soon as possible. That way, we can all get set to enjoy some beach football-without the beach. YAY! What a joke. And don’t even get me started with offensive ” skill” players who lead with their helmets. Bury the stupid rule!!

  5. Nice of the BIG to admit the error- after the fact and the damage was done. As cold as this sounds, the truth is the officials’ primary concern shouldn’t be for “safety”- it should be to get calls CORRECT. There are tons of other folks involved in the games whose job is player safety.
    One of the biggest obstacles to fixing this horrible problem- which shouldn’t exist in the first place but for the foolish inclusion of the word “targeting” in the rulebook- is that most if not all the officials work other jobs. Therefore, its difficult to get them all into the same place at the same time, and drill sense into their heads. Even if the BIG was able to magically do that, these clowns are so terrified by “targeting” that they will still overreact. even incorrectly, to give the impression they are “safety conscious”. There were already penalties in place for unnecessarily rough play before all the gnashing of teeth over “targeting”- the phrase needs to be removed from the rules. When they are blowing obvious calls after frame by frame review, its a clear signal the rule is a detriment to the game.

  6. I understand the need for safety as my son suffered several concussion from heads to the head. Head hunting and spearing do not belong in the game; however, the vast majority of targeting calls I have witnessed do not seem intentional as a result of the rule.

    Instead of ejecting a player the NCAA institute a penalty box like hockey. Upon review if the foul is determined incidental then the penalty on the player is the rest of the defensive series. If it was determined intentional (like leading with crown of head) the penalty should be remainder of the quarter. A second incident within a game could garner disqualification. The outcome of a game should not potentially depend on a snap judgement call. By sitting out a series it could allow replay additional time to review the the play for severity if needed.

    1. Sorry, sounds like I suffered from the concussion…. My son suffered several concussions from hits to the head.

  7. Not only does the Targeting Rule need revision, the replay system is totally broken. EVERY week there are calls that should be reversed that are not because it is not 100% convincing. Nothing is ever 100% in this world. It never is. That standard has become a thing the video ref hides behind so he can avoid upsetting anyone by reversing a call. Tony, how about an article with data on how few calls are reversed, and how the number of reversals has gone down each year?

  8. Now the question becomes”Does Denzel have to sit out the first half against Nebraska since they realize they blew it?” And don’t give me that they didn’t reverse the call because they should have got it right in the first place. Why punish the player for YOUR mistake.

    1. It occurred in the first half, so he wouldn’t have had to sit out the first half of Nebraska regardless.

  9. I’m certain it was your article explaining the rules that made all the difference.

  10. They are getting the calls wrong more and more! Pisses me off. Apology not accepted!

  11. The replay official(s) involved with this call should forfeit their game check(s) and sit out their next scheduled game…

    Same goes for the officials who missed the Devin Bush hit on MSU’s QB…

    The targeting rule needs to be reworked and the officials schooled in its application. Thank goodness the game wasn’t in doubt – if it were a close game, the fumble/recovery/touchdown and Ward’s services for the remainder of the game could’ve had an effect on the outcome.

  12. In watching the game on Fox it was apparent that the booth took almost no time to review the play. Even before Fox had a chance to show the definitive view, the referee was already making the announcement of upholding the ruling.

  13. Posted b4 about this and totally agree, also the rule needs to be revised as any tackle in this rule definition can be viewed as ‘targeting.’ Not sure what the refs on the field or in the booth or watching anywhere saw and ruled,but it was bad. Too bad a player had to be ejected and good thing the game’s outcome wasn’t effected either.

  14. Ozone, there seems to be something wrong with your web page. I can’t hardly get it to load, regardless of the device.

    1. We got it taken care of. Thanks.

  15. Does that now translate into allowing Ward to play the entire game against Nebraska since it was an incorrect call?

    1. Smh. Read the rule. Ward would have been eligible for the 1st half this week either way.

    2. It happened in the first half, he wouldn’t have to sit anyway.

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