PULLMAN — One was for pointing. One was for targeting.
As dissimilar as they were, two officiating calls in the third quarter had Washington State coaches and players wincing and wondering Saturday during their 59-17 win against Northern Colorado.
By far the more serious call was a targeting flag on rush linebacker Ron Stone Jr. for an after-the-release hit to the upper body of Bears quarterback Jacob Knipp in the third quarter.
Evidence wasn’t conclusive, but after a video review officials decided to assess a targeting penalty, forcing Stone to leave the game and also miss the first half of the Cougars’ contest Friday at Houston.
Upper-body hits are sensitive subjects for Northern Colorado and Knipp, a sixth-year senior who suffered season-ending injuries in each of the three previous years, all on hits to the shoulder area.
The other call that had the Cougs shaking their heads was an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty against offensive lineman Liam Ryan, for pointing at an opponent after a 10-run keeper by quarterback Anthony Gordon.
“You’re going to have to make your own judgment on that,” said WSU coach Mike Leach, who has been heavily fined in the past for criticizing officials. “As much as I would love to comment on that, I think you should write what you’re thinking, because I suspect it’s what I’m thinking.”
Also flagged for unsportsmanlike-conduct was WSU receiver Easop Winston Jr., for a gesture while celebrating a touchdown.
ENTERING THE HALL — Former WSU quarterback Ryan Leaf was one of six honored at halftime after being inducted Friday into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Also present for the halftime ceremony were volleyball standout Stephanie Papke, track star Ellannee Richardson, rower Lisa Roman and former sports information director Rod Commons. Unable to attend was distance runner Josephat Kapkory.
LINCOLN REMEMBERED — The family of the late Keith Lincoln was chosen to raise the Cougar flag before kickoff. Lincoln, a star running back for WSU and later the San Diego Chargers, died July 27 at age 80. He spent much of his life in Pullman and was a longtime director of alumni relations at WSU.
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