Targeting penalty against Clemson that left Ohio State’s Justin Fields injured irks fans

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A targeting penalty against Clemson linebacker James Skalski in the second quarter of a College Football Playoff semifinal against Ohio State left fans bewildered and upset.

Skalski came like a heat-seeking missile into a scrambling Justin Fields with 5:57 remaining in the first half. On his tackle, Skalski leaned with the crown of his helmet into Fields’ back. The Ohio State quarterback was down for a few moments clutching his back while officials reviewed the play.

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Officials determined that Skalaski should be penalized for targeting, which is an automatic ejection.

Two plays later, Ohio State extended its lead to 28-14 when Fields came back into the game and fired off a touchdown pass to Chris Olave. Fields then came off the field in obvious pain.

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The play left fans a bit perturbed about the rules and whether the play should even be considered targeting.

Skalski also was ejected in the national championship game last season for a targeting penalty against LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson.

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The winner of the Sugar Bowl matchup between the Tigers and Buckeyes will play Alabama in the national championship game. Clemson lost in the national title game last season to LSU. Ohio State hasn’t played for the national title since the 2014 season.

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