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Bequette Hit On Shaw Not Dirty At All

For the past 24 hours my inbox has been peppered with emails from South Carolina fans.  They want to know why I’m not predicting — or calling for — a suspension of Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette after his concussion-inducing sack of Connor Shaw on Saturday night.  Even a few columnists have claimed that the play was dirty.

Here it is for those missed it:

So why aren’t we at calling this shot cheap and dirty?  Because it wasn’t. 

It was rough and it was brutal, but it was simply a tackle.  While Bequette’s helmet did come into contact with Shaw’s, Bequette didn’t lead with the crown of his helmet.  If anything, it was the front of his helmet, not the top that collided with Shaw’s. 

As two upright bodies crash into one another, how is the front of a defender’s helmet not going to make contact with his opponent’s?  There’s a difference between the front of a helmet and the crown (top).

Also, some have said Bequette slammed Shaw to the turf, but it looks like a standard tackle to this writer.  Again, how else could Bequette have made that play?

There’s a clear difference between Bequette’s play and that of fellow Razorback Marquel Wade a week ago. 

Wade lowered his head — which was a danger to himself and his opponent — before going straight into the head of Vanderbilt’s Jonathan Krause.

Bequette didn’t lower his head and didn’t appear to be going for anything other than a quarterback sack. 

Does that mean the SEC won’t suspend Bequette?  Not definitively.  I can’t speak for Mike Slive.

But we would be surprised if the SEC took a stand on such a normal-looking football play.  The NFL has backed itself into a corner to where any player who makes any contact with any quarterback or receiver’s head — intentionally or accidentally — will receive a fine.  So even if a defender puts his helmet into a quarterback’s sternum and that helmet slides up into the passer’s facemask as they both fall down… that defender will be fined.  That’s ridiculous.

The SEC isn’t likely to set that kind of precedent.  Bequette’s hit was rough, but it sure doesn’t compare — at least not in’s view — to Wade hit or the dirty shots delivered in the recent Georgia-Vanderbilt game.

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