In the fourth quarter of the Seminoles' 33-32 win over Michigan in the 2016 Orange Bowl, Marshall made a tremendous play in punt coverage. He raced down the field and drilled Wolverines' cornerback and return man Jourdan Lewis.
Though Marshall did make forcible contact with Lewis using the crown of his helmet, how did he know Lewis would continue to the left and slightly crouch, thus lowering his helmet to where Lewis' helmet would come directly in contact with it? What is Marshall supposed to do?
Marshall was flagged for targeting and ejected. Lost in the thrilling final minutes and the start of the offseason was how the penalty would impact Florida State eight months later.
Players ejected for targeting in the second half must also sit out the team's next game. That one-half suspension carries into the next season if the player returns to school. As a result, Marshall won't be on the field for the first half of a potentially season-defining game against Alabama on Sept. 2.
"He will," Jimbo Fisher said at ACC spring meetings when asked if Marshall would sit out the first half. "And we're trying to vote on that too [at the ACC Spring Meetings]. I think that's crazy. No other sport, I don't know a sport, you have those red cards in soccer, they don't follow you year-to-year. But it is what the rule is now."
It was not a reckless hit — as is the case with most targeting hits — but it will cost Marshall 30 minutes in his final season. The NCAA must alter the ejection and one-half suspension (if applicable) rule if the offender is not clearly attempting to inflict injury with a reckless hit.