The most controversial rule in college football strikes again and hit the SEC pretty hard in the beginning of two different games. Florida safety Cody Riggs was tossed on the first play against Missouri, and South Carolina safety Kadetrix Marcus was ejected in the first quarter against Tennessee.
These referees aren't playing any games when it comes to player safety and won't hesitate showing a player the showers if he breaks the rule.
Now, let's check out these hits, shall we?
This play happened 15 seconds into the game. That has to be a record for a player getting thrown out under the new targeting rule. The question now is, was this really targeting?
Riggs clearly led with his helmet, which is a violation of the new rule. However, it should be noted that L'Damian Washington is a 6'4" receiver and was in mid-air when trying to catch this ball. Where else was he supposed to make contact? Or was he supposed to let Washington come down with the ball and then hit him?
Alligator Army clearly didn't agree with the call for the same reason:
Cody Riggs is gonna get thrown out of this game for lowering his head to hit a 6'4" receiver who was in mid-air.— Alligator Army (@AlligatorArmy) October 19, 2013
Kadetrix Marcus' hit was a little less controversial because he wasn't dealing with the same height differential and situation.
Pig Howard caught the ball and Marcus came in for the hit and led with his helmet. You can also see that his helmet touched Pig's lid, which is of course what the NCAA and rules committee is trying to avoid. You may not like it, but it's something everybody has to deal with until the rules are tweaked or until college football goes back to the way the game is supposed to be played.
Georgia's Ray Drew was also ejected!
Targeting? Really? Drew clearly let up after the throw and kind of pushed the Vanderbilt quarterback. There wasn't any helmet-to-helmet contact. The contact overall wasn't even that harsh.
Mike Pereira, Rules Analyst at FOX Sports, agreed.
If that is targeting at Vandy, then I am giving up Titos. What an awful rule!!!!!— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) October 19, 2013
Looking for an explanation of the rule?
From the SEC we were told in Pressbox as they handed it out pic.twitter.com/DX6lPtOdZ7— Adam Gillespie (@AG680) October 19, 2013
Yes, we understand all that. And, the rule still doesn't make much sense in this particular situation.
With Drew being the third SEC player ejected this early, injured Georgia running back Keith Marshall voiced his frustration:
I don't understand how they expect people to tackle— Keith Marshall (@Truthh4) October 19, 2013
Below the waist. Marshall should know this better than anybody.
But while most can agree that the rule is a little overboard, former NFL star wide receiver Randy Moss learned something new today:
Wow the young man in the sc tenn game got ejected 4 a hit!!is tht a new rule this yr?#teachme— Randy Moss (@RandyMoss) October 19, 2013
Whether you're a player, fan or coach, it's clear everybody is still trying to understand what exactly breaks the targeting rule.