Wisconsin Badgers edge rusher Nick Herbig was ejected in the second half of last weekend’s matchup against the Nebraska Cornhuskers for a targeting call on a play against quarterback Casey Thompson.
As a result, Herbig is expected to miss the first half of Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
But, interim head coach Jim Leonhard told reporters that he plans to appeal the call, believing that the penalty was incorrectly assessed in hopes that Herbig can play for the entirety of Wisconsin’s final regular-season game.
“We have started that process [of appealing the call] and we’ll continue to push. I don’t agree with the call, so we want to get some clarity on 1) was [the call] correct and 2) how can we train our players better to avoid those situations?
Here’s a clip of the play that warranted the targeting call.
Nick Herbig caught some rough breaks today and was effectively “phased out” of the game by the refs for playing with passion. One could maybe argue the penalties were just but disqualification is extremly harsh and unnecessary. We stand with @nickherbig_ pic.twitter.com/A9OUkadX2k— IKE Badgers Podcast (@IKE_Badgers) November 19, 2022
Leonhard believes that Herbig was attempting to avoid contact on the play, which is why he hopes that an appeal will result in an overturned call, although the interim head coach is not sure what the decision will be.
“He was committed to making a tackle and did everything he could to avoid contact, as far as rolling off. [It’s] unfortunate that it was called that way and hopefully we can get it changed, but I don’t know what the likelihood of that will be.”
Herbig himself believes that he did everything in his power to avoid Thompson, disagreeing with the call, via Jeff Potrykus.
“I saw [QB Casey Thompson] break the pocket and I didn’t think he was going to slide. I thought he was going to try to make a statement. He went down at the last second and I did everything in my power to avoid him. I really did.”
Now, Wisconsin will await the decision for their appeal in the hopes of having their leader and top edge rusher out for the full 60 minutes on Saturday, rather than just for the second half.
Update: Herbig’s appeal has been denied. He will miss the first half of the Badgers contest with Minnesota.