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Home / Targeting call bites Hawkeyes
IOWA CITY - Iowa's defense already was in scramble mode. And then free safety Jordan Lomax was ejected.
The Hawkeyes found themselves in scramble-scramble mode.
With about six minutes left, Lomax was ejected from Iowa State's 20-17 victory over Iowa after being called for a targeting penalty. Lomax hit ISU wide receiver Jarvis West in the head with his shoulder. West left the game and didn't return.
This pushed ISU from an incomplete pass on a second-and-8 to first down at its 42. Iowa State lost a top playmaker, and Iowa lost its free safety, who also happens to be responsible for quarterbacking the Hawkeyes' secondary.
'I was playing football, just trying to make a play on the ball,” Lomax said. 'I didn't try to hit him. I tried to protect myself, too, but I guess it looked like I was going to try to cause some bodily harm to him.”
This immediately kicked Iowa in the facemask. Six plays later, ISU running back DeVondrick Nealy ran a wheel route past Iowa linebacker Reggie Spearman for a 27-yard TD.
Spearman said the call from the safety, either new guy Anthony Gair or strong safety John Lowdermilk, was late.
'We were scrambling around on defense,” Spearman said. 'I got the call from the safety pretty late. I matched it, but I could've given better effort. It happens.”
Gair, a sophomore, replaced Lomax. So, he was new. On the Cyclones' scoring drive, Iowa also had linebacker Josey Jewell in on a nickel package. He was called for a defensive hold on a third-and-6. Cornerback Maurice Fleming was another sort-of-new face.
Iowa ran a lot of nickel during the drive, which ended with ISU kicker Cole Netten booting a 42-yarder with two seconds left to win the game.
The defense offered no excuses. It hung in as long as it could for an offense that put out of a second half of interception, punt, punt, field goal before resorting to the lateral deal on the game's final play.
'You can't control what the refs are going to call,” linebacker Quinton Alston said. 'It's our defense and at the end of the day, all you can think about it what we can do.”
The Cyclones converted two third downs during the decisive drive. QB Sam Richardson hit tight end Brett Medders for a 7-yard gain on a third-and-5. There also was the Jewell penalty.
'It was upsetting,” defensive tackle Carl Davis said of the Lomax ejection. 'I didn't think it was a fair call, but I'm not the ref.”
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