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Colorado’s Nate Landman ejected for targeting after hit against on Washington State QB Gardner Minshew

Washington State Cougars wide receiver Travell Harris (5) runs the ball against Colorado linebacker Nate Landman (53) during the first half of a college football game on Saturday, November 10, 2018, at Folsom Field in Boulder Colo. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

BOULDER, Colo. – A Colorado linebacker was punished for an illegal hit to the head on Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew in the second quarter of Saturday’s Pac-12 game between the Cougars and the Buffaloes.

Sophomore inside linebacker Nate Landman drilled Minshew in the earhole on a designed quarterback run from the Buffaloes’ 33-yard lineman. Officials immediately signaled for targeting and didn’t take long to confirm the call after an official review.

The penalty moved the Cougars 16 yards to the 49-yard line and helped set up WSU’s only touchdown of the half – a 28-yard scoring pass from Minshew to running back Max Borghi. Landman had two tackles for the Buffaloes when he was disqualified from the game.

Only one targeting penalty led to an ejection in Saturday’s game, but two others were called and subsequently overturned.

Early in the fourth quarter, WSU safety Jalen Thompson was flagged after he hit CU receiver Tony Brown on an incomplete pass near the sideline. Then, with the Cougars leading 31-7 later on in the fourth, officials thought CU backup quarterback Sam Noyer made head-to-head contact with Kedron Williams after the WSU nickel intercepted Noyer’s pass. It too was overruled following a review.

The Cougars have been involved in two targeting ejections this season. WSU Rush linebacker Dominick Silvels was ejected for a hit on Cal quarterback Chase Garbers near the end of the first half of the Cougars’ 19-13 win in Pullman last week.

WSU’s Logan Tago was initially called for targeting in the Cougars’ loss at USC earlier this season, but officials reversed the call after a highly-disputed review in which Pac-12 General Counsel Woodie Dixon reportedly phoned in to overrule the penalty. Later that game, USC linebacker Porter Gustin made head-to-head contact with Minshew, but was not penalized – another decision that caused widespread controversy.