Football games are inherently physical, and it doesn’t get much more physical than when opponents are rolling around and battling for a loose ball. But what BYU’s Ului Lapuaho did to Boise State’s Chanceller James Saturday very much crossed the line, given that it very much involved the last two words in the previous sentence.
Lapuaho was first to fall on the football, but James charged in and tried to rip it away. That’s when the 6-7, 330-pound offensive lineman decided it would be a good idea to ball up his fist and aim it squarely at his adversary’s man-zone. Take a look:
Not cool, man. Not cool at all. Let’s take another look:
Now that was worthy of a targeting penalty. Lapuaho did get flagged for the act, but he did not get ejected from the game, which certainly would have been warranted. However, he might still face a suspension.
In general, the Cougars are developing a bit of a reputation for over-the-line behavior. Their final game of the previous season, a Miami Beach Bowl matchup with Memphis, degenerated into an ugly brawl.
Last week, BYU defensive back Jordan Preator took out a Nebraska player with what looked like a vicious cheap shot at the knees, from behind. Back to Saturday’s game, linebacker Sione Takitaki got called for a roughing-the-passer penalty that was anything but ticky-tacky after his forearm blow to Boise State quarterback Ryan Finley’s neck.
Everyone at BYU is supposed to follow the school’s Honor Code, which includes a directive to “respect others.” It’s hard to find much honor in Lapuaho’s act.
Earlier versions of this post indicated that BYU was a member of the Mountain West Conference. It competes in football as an independent.