College football’s Bowl Subdivision has seen a 73 percent increase in the number of targeting penalties enforced through the first three weeks of the season compared with the same point in 2016.

The national coordinator of officials, Rogers Redding, said Wednesday that 55 targeting penalties have been enforced in 214 games (0.26 per game). Last year at this time, 35 targeting penalties had been enforced in 230 games (0.15).

Targeting is called if a player uses the crown of his helmet to strike an opponent above the shoulders or strikes the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with a helmet, forearm, hand, elbow or shoulder.

The Big Ten coordinator of officials, Bill Carollo, said the early numbers are alarming.

“I fired off an email to a few people to say we need to do something about this,” he said. “Let’s not wait until the end of the season. Not let’s wait to do a study. I don’t have all the answers, but it needs to get to the level of commissioners, athletic directors and partnering with coaches.”

The rule didn’t change from last year. Targeting penalties that are upheld by video review result in a 15-yard penalty and the ejection of the player called for the targeting.

Redding said the increase in number of calls could be attributed to on-field and replay officials becoming more comfortable making the call.

Last year, for the entire 2016 season, there was an average of 0.17 targeting calls enforced per game. The 0.26 per game so far this season is a 53 percent increase.

Redding said comparing the first three weeks of 2016 to the first three weeks of 2017 is a better gauge because games in September tend to be played differently because there are more mismatches and less experienced players are on the field.

Redding said there have been 75 targeting penalties called on the field through three weeks, and 20 of them have been overturned on review.

MIDWESTERN STATE: A 19-year-old player died after suffering a neck injury while making a tackle during a home game last weekend.

Cornerback Robert Grays of Houston died at a hospital in his hometown. He was critically injured Saturday, suffering a neck injury while making a tackle in the fourth quarter of a 35-13 victory against Texas A&M-Kingsville at Wichita Falls, Texas.

TENNESSEE: Coach Butch Jones said there’s now at least a possibility that linebacker Cortez McDowell could return late in the regular season or in a bowl game.

McDowell injured his wrist last week in a 26-20 loss to Florida. After indicating Monday that McDowell was out for the season, Jones said there’s at least a chance McDowell could come back late in the year.