Penn State University kicker Joey Julius is a big boy.
Way bigger than most kickers: At 258 pounds, Julius is not afraid of charging downfield and throwing his bulk right into a kick returner.
Julius's reputation precedes him: Last week, a day before Penn State's game with the University of Minnesota, ESPN ran a story calling Julius the "hardest-hitting kicker in college football."
Meanwhile, these Minnesota Gophers might be starting to develop a bit of a reputation of their own. As dirty players.
Linebacker Jaylen Waters was ejected from Saturday's game after a nasty knockdown that left Julius temporarily motionless. The hit was immediately ajudged to be a head-hunting cheap shot; yellow flags came flying in his direction, and Waters held up his hands in a "What'd I do?" gesture.
Earlier in the game, Waters had taken a different tack with Julius, blocking (and grabbing, though subtly) the kicker to keep him away from the play. Like his helmet-to-helmet spearing, this play was effective. Unlike the later hit, it was also legal.
See below for the difference between these two clashes.
U of M coach Tracy Claeys says he plans to "handle" the situation with Waters, the Pioneer Press reports, adding, "I care about protecting the game, and I don't believe in that crap."
This won't be the first time Claeys has had to address "that crap" with his players this year. Three Gophers defensive players were kicked out of the team's season-opener with Oregon State University for separate incidents. Each was said to have targeted a defenseless quarterback (twice) or wide receiver.
Reminder, to Minnesota: You go after the guy with the ball, and the point is to get him on the ground. Not into the hospital.
In scoreboard-related football news, Penn State handed Minnesota its first loss of the season, 29-26, in overtime, dropping the U of M to 3-1. The Gophers host Iowa this Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium.