SOUTH BEND, Ind — Virginia Tech defensive back Jermaine Waller was called for targeting early in the fourth quarter of a 21-20 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday night.
Waller will be suspended for the first half of Tech's game next week against Wake Forest since the penalty occurred in the second half.
It’s the second targeting suspension of the season for the Hokies. Starting safety Reggie Floyd missed the first half against North Carolina after getting called for targeting late in the game against Rhode Island.
The call on Waller came with Notre Dame trying to erase a 20-14 deficit.
While there was some questionable officiating down the stretch, the call against Waller was pretty clear cut. As linebacker Rayshard Ashby had Notre Dame running back Jafar Armstrong wrapped up behind the line of scrimmage, Waller hit Armstrong with the crown of his helmet at the end of the play.
“The play looked like Waller was kind of going for it, to make a hit and the back kind of fell into him a little bit,” Foster said. “...It’s unfortunate that he looked like he did lower his head... I don’t think that’s really what his intent was at all, but that’s a tough part."
Virginia Tech defensive back Armani Chatman, who was wearing Frank Beamer’s No. 25 jersey, replaced Waller. Chatman had the most playing time of his career in Tech’s win over North Carolina after Caleb Farley went down with an injury.
The concern Tech has for going into next week’s game against Wake Forest is that multiple players in the secondary suffered injuries on Saturday. Chatman went down on the final drive as did Farley. Whip linebacker Chamarri Conner didn’t return to the game after playing the first drive.
“We were kind of scrambling around a little bit on the back end,” Foster said.
Waller has 28 tackles (21 solo) and is tied for the team lead with three interceptions. He also has four pass breakups.
“The next man has to step up,” Virginia Tech safety Divine Deablo said. “That’s our mentality. That’s been our mentality this whole year. That’s how we’re going to keep approaching things. Just keep working hard every day.”