By Jim Naveau
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Joey Bosa’s view of his final Ohio State game at Fiesta Bowl on Friday wasn’t what he expected at all.
For the final 35 minutes and 26 seconds of the game, he watched it on a big-screen television in the Buckeyes’ locker room after being ejected from the game for targeting on a hit he put on Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer.
The NCAA targeting rule says that if a player leads with the crown of his helmet while making a tackle, that is targeting, which results in a 15-yard penalty and the player having to leave the game.
Helmet to helmet contact or making contact with the opponent’s head is not necessary to enforce the penalty. Replays showed the top of Bosa’s helmet hitting Kizer in the chest.
Bosa chose not to dispute the call in the locker room after the game.
“I really have no place to judge what the ref said,” he said.
The junior defensive end, who will be a high first-round draft choice in the NFL draft in April, steadfastly refused to say he was going to declare for the draft in the days leading up to the Fiesta Bowl.
But during a Thursday press conference, coach Urban Meyer counted him among the Buckeyes in the junior class who would not be back.
“I was really trying to keep it quiet that I was leaving. I had no intention of it coming out before the game. I had no idea he said that. I really didn’t want to take any attention off the team. But obviously it’s out there now. He probably thought it was out there already,” Bosa said.
Bosa had four tackles before the targeting call and expected to out with a big game.
“I felt just about as good as I’d ever felt out there on the field and was really ready to go,” he said.
While Bosa wasn’t in uniform to hear the cheers of Ohio State’s fans during his final game, his teammate Ezekiel Elliott did salute him by doing Bosa’s signature shrug celebration after a 47-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
“I told him at halftime if he scored again he’d better do it,” Bosa said.
Looking back at his three seasons at OSU, Bosa said, “It’s been the best three years of my life and I’ll remember it forever. This is it. It’s pretty unbelievable that it’s over already. It’s amazing how fast it all went.”
SERIES RECORD: Ohio State has won four of the six games it has played against Notre Dame – this season, the 2006 Fiesta Bowl and regular-season games in 1995 and 1996.
Notre Dame’s wins came in 1935 and 1936.
SERIES WILL RESUME: OSU and Notre Dame have agreed to play regular-season games in 2022 and 2023.
BOWL STRUGGLES: Notre Dame has not won a major bowl game since the 1994 Cotton Bowl.
The Fighting Irish’s four bowl wins since 1994 have been in the Hawaii Bowl, the Sun Bowl, the Pinstripe Bowl and the Music City Bowl.
Reach Jim Naveau at (567) 242-0414 or follow him on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.