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Texas will appeal DeMarvion Overshown’s targeting penalty

The senior linebacker will miss the first half of the Big 12 opener against Texas Tech unless the conference reverses the targeting call against him.

UTSA v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Early in the fourth quarter of the 41-20 win by the Texas Longhorns over the UTSA Roadrunners on Saturday, the Longhorns finally got to Roadrunners quarterback Frank Harris, who avoided numerous sacks on the evening with his elusiveness inside and outside the pocket, when senior linebacker DeMarvion Overshown came free on a blitz.

A play that should have represented catharsis after three frustrating quarters of trying and failing to get Harris to the ground behind the line of scrimmage quickly turned into frustration after Overshown was flagged for a targeting penalty. Review upheld the call on the field, resulting in Overshown’s ejection and suspension for the first half of next week’s Big 12 opener against Texas Tech in Lubbock, leaving fans in the stadium and at least one former player incensed.

After the game, even Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian was frustrated about the call.

“I felt like DeMarvion did everything he could — he never lowered his head, he tried to make a clean hit. It was a bang-bang play,” Sarkisian said.

Indeed, the videos and pictures of the play clearly show that the 6’4 Overshown didn’t lower his head against the 6’0 Harris to deliver a blow above the shoulders and the facemask-to-facemask contact only happened because of the difference in height of the two players.

So why was targeting called?

According to Sarkisian, the officials determined that Harris was a defenseless player as he stood in the pocket with the football, a completely confounding decision.

But due to recent rule changes, the Longhorns do have recourse — appealing the call to the conference in the hopes that Overshown can play in the first half against the Red Raiders.

“We’re allowed to appeal a targeting, especially one that occurs in the second half of the game, so we’ll definitely try to appeal this one... So we’ll take a look at it on tape and then try to send it in and see what the league says,” Sarkisian said.

Overshown finished second on the team with 10 tackles against UTSA, including a half tackle for loss, and trails only junior linebacker Jaylan Ford for the team lead in tackles with 23 on the season.