Washington Huskies football coach Chris Petersen said he had a conversation Sunday with the Pac-12 office about the automatic half-game suspension of tight end Josh Perkins, who was ejected from Saturday’s game at California after being called for a targeting penalty.
Petersen hoped the penalty might be reviewed and the suspension overturned. But a Pac-12 spokesperson said that will not be the case.
Dave Hirsch, the Pac-12’s vice president for communications, told The News Tribune that the Pac-12 “does not overturn” such decisions and Perkins will have to sit the first half of Washington’s 5 p.m. game Saturday at Oregon.
“The conference does not overturn, as that is the responsibility of the video replay crew,” Hirsch wrote in an email. “The crew confirmed the targeting call during the game, and Perkins will be required by the playing rules to sit the first half of the next game.”
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The call in question was made early in the fourth quarter of UW’s 31-7 victory over California. Quarterback Cyler Miles threw a pass to receiver John Ross behind the line of scrimmage, and as Ross danced his way across the field, juking defenders and evading blocking teammates, Perkins lowered his shoulder and blocked a Cal player to the ground.
The fourth-year junior was flagged for an illegal crackback block and targeting a defenseless player, which triggers an automatic ejection and half-game suspension from the team’s next game.
Petersen implied Monday that he didn’t agree with the call — “you probably know” was his response when asked his reaction to it — but also offered a defense of the officiating crew.
“The bottom line is, officials are trying to get them right,” he said. “Those are really close calls. We’re also sensitive about the head shots, trying to take that out of the game. Those are hard. It’s a lot easier when you’ve got the replay and you can sit there and look at it 30 times after. It’s a lot easier there.”
Perkins appeared to contact the defender’s shoulder with his own shoulder — a seemingly legal hit, or at least one that isn’t frequently penalized — which led some to question whether the correct call was made.
Asked what he would prefer Perkins to do differently, Petersen said: “Very tough. It was really a reaction. John Ross is changing directions every nanosecond, a guy comes back and he hits a guy. We always talk about strike zone, bottom of the numbers and lower. So to not put anything into question, lower the strike zone.”
Perkins made his first two catches of the season Saturday, including a 25-yard touchdown pass from Miles in the first quarter. He will likely be replaced in the first half by some combination of sophomore Darrell Daniels and fifth-year senior Michael Hartvigson. Daniels is fourth on the team with eight catches for 69 yards, and Hartvigson has two receptions this season for 27 yards.
Washington’s Oct. 25 game against Arizona State at Husky Stadium will kick off at 7:45 p.m. and air on ESPN. That’s the latest kickoff of any Huskies game this season, and their first start time later than 5 p.m. since UW’s Aug. 30 opener at Hawaii, which began at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time. … Huskies linebacker Shaq Thompson was named Pac-12 defensive player of the week after returning a fumble 100 yards for a touchdown and leading UW with 11 tackles during its win over California. Thompson also won defensive player of the week following UW’s Sept. 13 victory over Illinois. … Senior right tackle Ben Riva, who missed four of UW’s first five games with a knee injury, played three snaps against California before injuring his ankle. “If he didn’t have any bad luck,” Petersen said, “he’d have zero luck right now.”
Christian Caple: 253-597-8437