NCAA Football

The 5 Most Unsportsmanlike College Football Plays of the Last 5 Years

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The 5 Most Unsportsmanlike College Football Plays of the Last 5 Years

College Football
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

College football is a brutal sport. There is no question that the game is a rough, hard hitting, physical sport. Most of the time, referees do a fairly good job of keeping the play on the field relatively clean.

However, every now and then, we see a player who simply doesn’t care about the rules of the game. Unfortunately, the game has shown the best and worst of players, coaches and teams over the past few years.

To these players, football is more than a game. These players see football as their lives, and will do anything to win, even if “anything” goes directly against the rules and causes serious physical harm to another human being.

These players see illegal actions as a way to get an advantage on game day. Why deal with shutting down the star quarterback for four quarters when you could take him out of the game in the second?

Unfortunately, the NCAA doesn’t do a great job at enforcing punishment when these plays happen. Sure, a player may put down one of the nastiest, illegal hits on a defenseless player and get suspended for a game, but in reality, that isn’t harsh enough to keep players from unsportsmanlike actions.

Most of the time, the suspensions resulting from the actions on the field, if present at all, require the unsportsmanlike player to miss less time than the player that was injured from the illegal action.

The list could probably include a number of honorable mentions, but here are the five most unsportsmanlike plays from the past five college football seasons.

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D.J. Swearinger’s Monster Hit (2012)

College Football
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Not only was this a helmet to face hit, but Swearinger couldn’t control his emotions and stood over an injured player to taunt. Even head coach Steve Spurrier was disappointed.

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Shakeel Rashad’s Pre-Snap Cheap Shot (2012)

College Football
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve never seen anything quite like this. Duke Blue Devil Conner Vernon is lined up ready for the next play, when UNC Tar Heel Shakeel Rashad runs off of the sideline and clips his leg. Vernon collapses in pain and missed several games.

Rashad was ultimately suspended for a game. Vernon missed more time than that because of the hit. There’s no question this was intentional. Rashad has no business being on the Duke side of the line of scrimmage to begin with.

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Quinton Dial’s Decapitation of Aaron Murray (2012)

College Football
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The fact that this hit wasn’t penalized and Dial never received a suspension is everything that is wrong with college football. Dial clearly led with his helmet to hit a quarterback who was nowhere near the play.

With all of the concussion speak floating around the league; I’m appalled that this wasn’t dealt with. So we have rules in place that make a player leave the field for a play if his helmet falls off, but nothing is called when a defender intentionally tries to injure a quarterback?

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Cameron Erving’s Sideline Hit (2010)

College Football
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

This is just dirty. Not only was the initial hit late, but a player who wasn’t even on the field at the time decided to give Ryan Broyles some help getting to the opposing bench.

Watch as Cameron Erving, number 74 on the Florida State Seminoles’ sideline, clearly shoves Broyles into the bench, nearly five yards out of bounds.

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Marquel Wade’s Hit on Defenseless Jonathan Krause (2011)

College Football
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This without question is the dirtiest play I have ever seen in a college football game. Jonathan Krause clearly signaled for a fair catch and was not expecting contact. Marquel Wade obviously didn’t care.

Wade led with his helmet into a defenseless player, long before the football would have gotten to Krause, after building up speed to a full sprint. Wade is lucky he didn’t kill Krause. This is the kind of play that has no place in the game. Wade was ejected and suspended for one game.

This shows oncee again how big of a joke discipline is in the SEC. Two harsh plays made this list, which could have seriously injured the man on the receiving end, and one player wasn’t suspended while the other missed only one game.

Wade later apologized for his hit, but that doesn’t excuse what he did in the least.