PULLMAN – With one sack already on Saturday, redshirt freshman Ron Stone Jr. rushed into the backfield and honed in on quarterback Jacob Knipp, midway through the third quarter of Washington State’s 59-17 victory over Northern Colorado.
Stone hit Knipp just after he released the ball, and Washington State was called for a penalty, but it wasn’t on Stone: free safety Bryce Beekman was called for defensive pass interference, and the Bears advanced 15 yards downfield.
But replay officials wanted another look, and after three and a half minutes of deliberation, referees ruled the Stone’s hit was targeting. Replays showed Stone’s helmet hit Knipp squarely on the chest as the backup linebacker took the quarterback to the ground.
Stone was ejected for the rest of the half, the Cougars ahead 38-10. Stone will also be ineligible to play during the first half of Friday’s game at Houston.
It was Washington State’s first targeting penalty of the season. Last year, the Cougars had one targeting call upheld all season, that against Skyler Thomas in the first half of a 28-24 victory over Utah.
The penalty Saturday wasn’t costly for the Cougars in the short term, however. One play after Stone’s ejection, Bears running back Milo Hall fumbled the ball as he approached the line of scrimmage, and Beekman scooped it up for the turnover.
It was the third fumble recovery of the game for the Cougars, who added another in the fourth quarter.
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