On Moxey’s targeting suspension, who steps up vs UNM

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Boise State’s top cornerback, Jonathan Moxey, will miss the first half of tomorrow’s game against the New Mexico Lobos in Albuquerque, after the targeting call against him was upheld by the Mountain West Conference upon further review.

With only a minute and twenty-two seconds remaining in a match-up against the Utah State Aggies, Moxey was still in the game trying to help put the Bronco victory on ice.

Two plays prior, the corner nearly had an interception that would have given Boise State the ball well inside Utah State territory and likely would have prevented him from seeing the field again. But as fate would have it, that’s not what happened.

On 2nd and 10, Utah State Quarterback Kent Myers took the borderline-garbage time snap and dumped off a pass to Aggie running back, Tonny Lindsey. When the engagement in space began, Moxey’s helmet was at the level of Lindsey’s chest on a downward trajectory with the running back’s helmet positioned well above the level of the corner’s. (You can use the opposite sideline as a reference point).


Lindsey then lowered his head straight down to expose the crown of his helmet to the crown of Moxey’s before the two ricocheted off one another.


A personal foul flag was thrown for targeting and upon video review Moxey was ejected from the game. Because the foul occurred in the second half, Moxey will also be disqualified for the first half of the Broncos next game tomorrow.

Here is the “targeting” section of the NCAA rule book, with clarifications:

Targeting and Initiating Contact With the Crown of the Helmet (Rule 9-1-3)

No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul.

On this play, the player that initiated the contact was Lindsey, not Moxey, who’s helmet was in motion to the point of contact first.

Targeting and Initiating Contact to Head or Neck Area of a Defenseless Player (Rule 9-1-4)

No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, fist, elbow or shoulder. When in question, it is a foul. (Rule 2-27-14)

Lindsey gave himself up to be defenseless, but again, he initiated the contact.


Target—to take aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with an apparent intent that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball.

This section of the rule does not apply to the play in question.

Crown of the Helmet—the top portion of the helmet.

The sticker on the side of Lindsey’s helmet came flying off after the contact. The crowns of the helmets never met. The crown of Moxey’s helmet connected with Lindsey’s helmet after the latter impeded the former’s already established path.

Contact to the head or neck area—not only with the helmet, but also with the forearm, fist, elbow, or shoulder—these can all lead to a foul.

Contact to the head was made but through no direct action of Moxey’s. The latter part of this section of the rule does not apply to the play in question.

Defenseless player—a player not in position to defend himself.

Lindsey, the “defenseless player” in this scenario, made himself defenseless by his own actions after Moxey had already began the process of attempting to tackle him.

There is no grey area here. The Mountain West Conference officials and headquarters got this call gravely wrong. It probably won’t matter because New Mexico only averages 64.5 passing yards per half and Moxey only covers one side of the field. However Moxey’s leadership and tenacity on the gridiron will be missed for the first 30 minutes tomorrow.

This means that Tyler Horton, Ray Ford, and DeAndre Pierce will have to step up in his absence.

Hopefully the suspension doesn’t derail the Bronco’s season.


About Robert J Pfeifer

Robert J Pfeifer
Robert was born in Boise and raised in Meridian, Idaho. He spent his whole life in the Treasure Valley before moving away to Moscow for college. He owns his own website where he covers recruiting and writes other in-depth articles about Boise State. He also helps with the Idaho Statesman's High School Football coverage.

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