The targeting call on TJ Carter in the fourth quarter is all anyone can talk about after last night’s loss, and rightfully so. What would have been a sack to make it third and long for the Gators turned into 15 free yards, a first down, and three plays later, the touchdown that would put Florida ahead for good.
The clip of the play in question is everywhere this morning, and shows that Carter didn’t aim for Kyle Trask’s head; rather, Trask dipped his head and shoulders before contact.
Still kinda upset about this pic.twitter.com/1X4G8MJwVM
— KY Clips (@KY_Clips) September 15, 2019
Not really sure what Carter is supposed to do. His target never and head never changed. The quarterbacks head dropping and swinging around caused the contact. pic.twitter.com/221hC5hnYY
— Shawn Smith (@gbbcountry) September 15, 2019
There were three targeting calls — and therefore, ejections — last night: the aforementioned one on Carter, one on Yusuf Corker in the first quarter, and one on Florida cornerback Donovan Stiner for his hit on Ahmad Wagner in the third quarter. Mark Stoops tried to toe the line of not criticizing the referees too much in his postgame press conference, but was clearly frustrated.
“It’s very difficult. I’m not saying that all the officials made a wrong call. It’s just a tough call. It’s a tough call. You’ve got a chance to win a game, you know, with third and 20 — what would it have been? I don’t know, third and super long. Targeting.”
“You know, to have a game decided in that moment, when a guy — what am I supposed to tell my — my guys are fighting, clawing, scrambling, trying to get them down and giving everything they got, and you get that called,” he added later before leaving the room.
AJ Rose, Kordell Looney, Drake Jackson, and defensive coordinator Brad White shared their frustrations about the rule with our Bradley McKee.
As Jackson points out, Florida also had a targeting call, and Kentucky had a chance to win the game regardless, but the number of controversial calls this season proves the rule, particularly the blanket punishment, could use some work.