Ole Miss jumped to a 26-0 lead over Louisville at the half of Monday’s game, but at a significant cost to its defense. The Rebels lost two players to targeting ejections.
The flags started flying with a call against Rebels linebacker Mark Robinson for his hit on the Cardinals running back Hassan Hall near the end of the first quarter. Robinson’s targeting wasn’t egregious, though he did lower his helmet as he made the tackle, resulting in his ejection.
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Minutes following Robinson’s ejection, officials made a more clear targeting penalty against Louisville: Two players — linebackers Monty Montgomery and Jack Fagot — lowered their heads and made helmet-to-helmet contact with Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, who was in the act of sliding. Montgomery’s hit was particularly hard, knocking Corral’s head into the turf upon collision.
After review, the targeting penalty was only directed against Montgomery.
Following a kickoff after the Rebels scored to earn a 16-0 lead, Louisville received its second targeting penalty. Cardinals defensive end Tabarius Peterson was the third player to be called for targeting with around 10 minutes remaining in the half.
Three targeting calls before the end of the first half was enough to stir enraged reactions across social media. From fans to college football analysts, everyone has an opinion on the NCAA’s targeting ejection rule.
Targeting makes me want to freaking scream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Defenders cannot account for offensive players ducking or lowering their bodies before the defenders hit them! Impossible!
— David Pollack (@davidpollack47) September 7, 2021
The fourth targeting penalty of the game was called against Ole Miss linebacker Lakia Henry, with just under six minutes remaining in the half.
That was the final targeting ejection of the game — so far.