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West Virginia Linebacker VanDarius Cowan Ejected for Targeting After Appalling Hit

West Virginia linebacker VanDarius Cowan was ejected in the first quarter against Kansas State after one of the most blatant targeting calls you'll see. 

With just over seven minutes left in the first quarter, Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson's pass was intercepted by the West Virginia defense. But the turnover was called back after Cowan's shocking helmet-to-helmet hit on Thompson.

The redshirt senior linebacker leapt with his arms in the air to try to block Thompson's pass and came down with a headbutt motion onto the Wildcats quarterback's helmet. 

Following Cowan's ejection, Kansas State still punted the ball later on the drive, but the penalty also disallowed an interception that would've give the Mountaineers the ball in Wildcats territory. On the ensuing drive, Kansas State blocked a West Virginia punt and returned it for a touchdown. 

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Cowan, a former four-star recruit out of Florida, won a national championship as a freshman with Alabama in 2017. He was dismissed from Nick Saban's program the following summer after being charged with misdemeanor assault after an altercation at a Tuscaloosa bar.

Earlier this season, Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger reported that the targeting rule is expected to be adjusted for the 2022 season, although it's difficult to see how Cowan's hit could be excluded under any adjustment. 

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