Clemson LB James Skalski ejected from Sugar Bowl for targeting
Is it deja vu for Clemson and Ohio State?
During last season’s College Football Playoff matchup, Ohio State looked in control early on. With the defense making plays and stifling Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the Buckeyes were flagged for targeting. As a result of that call, Shaun Wade was ejected and the Tigers found their groove in his absence.
A similar situation just played out during this year’s Sugar Bowl, only this time it happened against the Tigers. Star linebacker and defensive leader James Skalski was ejected after being called for targeting on a hit against Justin Fields.
The hit left Fields laying on the field for a long moment before he was helped to the sideline. Check it out:
James Skalski just thumped Justin Fields pic.twitter.com/X9RKH3Tqzj
— Joe Broback (@joebroback) January 2, 2021
James Skalski was called for targeting and ejected after this hit on Justin Fields. pic.twitter.com/0oqTQCTEDi
— ESPN (@espn) January 2, 2021
As you can see, this is not the traditional targeting call for helmet-to-helmet contact, but the rule still applies for a forcible hit initiated with the helmet. Though targeting is usually controversial – and this call is likely to be seen as controversial by some – Skalski visibly lowers and initiates contact with the crown of his helmet.
The penalty also kept a drive alive as Clemson had stopped Fields short of the first-down marker. He came back shortly after the injury to throw his third touchdown of the first half.
Clearly in pain, Fields has gone to the medical tent for further evaluation.