The most controversial call of Texas’s 50-47 double overtime win over Notre Dame was actually one not made, when Longhorns safety DeShon Elliott hit Irish wideout Torii Hunter, Jr., successfully breaking up a would-be touchdown pass but sending Hunter, Jr., to the locker room for an evaluation.
The play was not reviewed for targeting, but Hunter did not return to the game.
Here’s the play again to refresh your memory.
Remember, a rule change this season allows replay officials the latitude to stop the game and retroactively enforce a targeting foul if they deem one was missed by the officials on the field. Elliott’s hit seemed like a textbook case for that, but turns out it was actually reviewed.
Says head of Big 12 officials Walt Anderson, via USA Today: “The play was reviewed and replay did not feel the action warranted an egregious foul, which is the standard to be applied for replay involvement in targeting fouls that are not called on the field.”
ACC officials worked the game on the field, while the Big 12 handled replay. The ACC told Irish head coach Brian Kelly the play was “most likely” targeting.
Elliott’s hit caused an incomplete pass, setting up a Notre Dame field goal — which was blocked.
Hunter’s status for Saturday’s game against Nevada is uncertain while Elliott’s Twitter avatar, as of press time, was a photo of him celebrating the hit while Hunter lay in the end zone.