EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State junior LB Chris Frey took a vicious hit from Michigan’s Devin Bush while covering a punt in the second quarter of a 32-23 loss against No. 2 Michigan on Saturday at Spartan Stadium. It was a hit that the replay showed to include helmet-to-helmet contact. It was a hit hard enough that Frey stayed on the ground for some time before coming off the field to the sideline. Three plays later, Frey made a tackle after returning to play defense.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said Sunday night during a conference call with local reporters that, as far as he knows, Frey was cleared to return to the field and play after undergoing normal concussion protocol procedures.
“Yes, I assume that he did because we have Dr. (David) Kaufman on the sidelines to do just that,” Dantonio said. “He was never diagnosed with a possible concussion or anything like that. But yeah, he took a shot, there’s no question about that.”
Dr. Kaufman is the chairman of Michigan State University’s Department of Neurology. He is on the field for all Michigan State games, home and away.
On-field officials did not issue a penalty against Bush on the play. Replay officials have the authority to check if a play warrants a penalty call or even a potential ejection for targeting, but that did not happen, either.
Concussion research activist Chris Nowinski, founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, questioned how Frey was allowed back into the game.
— Chris Nowinski (@ChrisNowinski1) October 29, 2016
FOX Sports rules expert Mike Pereira questioned the lack of a penalty call from the field or the booth.
Agree with the announcers in Michigan State. Replay should have gotten involved and called targeting on the blindside block.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) October 29, 2016
Michigan State has had two players ejected from games this season for targeting: junior DL Malik McDowell in the fourth quarter of the Oct. 1 game at Indiana, and senior MLB Riley Bullough in the first quarter last week at Maryland.
Frey is a stable aspect of a linebacker unit dealing with injuries all season. He had started every game this season at the SAM outside linebacker position and leads the team with 66 tackles, including nine against Michigan. Michigan State lost Bullough to injury for three games early in the season and has been without its other outside linebacker, Jon Reschke, since he suffered an ankle injury Sept. 24 against Wisconsin.
Kevin Goheen covers Michigan State for Landof10.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CincyGoGo