Over the past several years, the NCAA has tried to make college football safer with several rule changes to protect the players including the ever-controversial targeting penalty. While some might complain that the rules changes have made the game soft and made life more difficult on defenders, one hit during Saturday’s Music City Bowl between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Iowa Hawkeyes would have been illegal in any era of football.
Late in the second quarter of Saturday’s game, Kentucky was punting the ball to Iowa when Hawkeyes punt returner Cooper DeJean called for a fair catch. But unfortunately, it appears that Kentucky gunner Taj Dodson missed the signal and absolutely lit up DeJean on the play, drawing a penalty flag.
You can see the whole play here:
— no context college football (@nocontextcfb) December 31, 2022
It’s worth noting that Dodson hit DeJean even before the ball reached him. So even if he hadn’t called fair catch on the play, it still would have been a blatant penalty.
It was an absolutely shocking play, and the college football world had plenty to say about it.
This is what I’m talking about, all hits aren’t the same. A dirty play like this shouldn’t be treated the same as a guy who grazed a helmet cause the QB slid slate. Targeting 1. Targeting 2. @NCAA https://t.co/3YNHeyiCVn
— Patrick Simpson (@_PatrickSimpson) December 31, 2022
“This is what I’m talking about, all hits aren’t the same. A dirty play like this shouldn’t be treated the same as a guy who grazed a helmet cause the QB slid slate. Targeting 1. Targeting 2,” one fan said on Twitter.
— 🔥 LU Fan Portal 🔥 .. sǝɯɐןℲ ǝɥʇ uɐℲ (@LUFanPortal) December 31, 2022
“Immediate ejection .. no explanation needed,” another fan said.
this is absolutely egregious https://t.co/A6oF52ZUBJ
— Go Iowa Awesome (@IowaAwesome) December 31, 2022
“this is absolutely egregious,” Go Iowa Awesome said on Twitter.
In a world of controversial calls, this one was certainly an easy one.