The Wisconsin Badgers beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday to become bowl eligible. While the victory was great, there is one moment that is going to have some lasting effects. In the third quarter, Nebraska quarterback Casey Thompson was hit while sliding by Wisconsin linebacker Nick Herbig. Herbig was called for targeting and ejected from the game after another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. By rule, this sidelines him for the first half of the finale. The team appealed the decision but to no avail. Wisconsin linebacker Nick Herbig loses his appeal and will be out for the first half of Saturday’s game.
Wisconsin Linebacker Nick Herbig Loses Appeal
#Badgers’ appeal on Nick Herbig denied. He must sit out first half vs. Minnesota.
— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) November 22, 2022
Wisconsin laid out its case but to no avail. If you look at the tape, Herbig did everything he could to turn his body to avoid the hit. “I did try everything I could to not touch him,” Herbig said after the game. He said that he knows the rules and knows that hitting a quarterback while sliding is a penalty.
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
His attempt to avoid the hit did not stop the officials from calling a penalty for targeting. The Badgers were hoping that after a closer review of the tape, the Big Ten would decide to retract the targeting call allowing Herbig to play the whole game Saturday. The Big Ten upheld the call.
What Does This Mean For Wisconsin On Saturday?
Wisconsin loses a key piece on defense for the first half against Minnesota. While Wisconsin is already bowl eligible, ending the season on a high note is always good. There are also recruits visiting who would love to see a Wisconsin victory as they look to make their decisions. Not having Herbig on the field for the first half means that the whole defense will need to step up to stop the Minnesota offense. The one good thing is you know that Nick Herbig will be hungry to get out there for the second half.
The call of targeting is a good one for player safety. However, it is really hard for defenders sometimes. The game moves fast and it can be hard to avoid a hit. Herbig’s hit was not a dirty one. The Big Ten should have seen that and allowed him to play. While it stinks that Nick Herbig lost his appeal, the Badgers will have to look past that and come up with enough plays to win.