Officials silent on Notre Dame helmet hit despite new rule

9NEWS at 5 p.m. 09/05/16.

KUSA - Even from afar, the helmet-to-helmet hit looked brutal.

A true bell-ringer delivered by University of Texas defensive back DeShon Elliott sent Notre Dame Wide Receiver Torii Hunter Jr. out of Sunday's game in the third quarter.

Officials were silent on the play, frustrating Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly.

"We had lost Torii Hunter to a blow to the head," Kelly said in a press conference Sunday. "It wasn't even reviewed, which doesn't make any sense to me."

"Targeting" can elicit a 15-yard penalty, and the offending player can be ejected.

"Just unfortunate that it wasn't officiated or reviewed in a manner that I thought it should have been," Kelly said, adding that his exchange with the officials following the play was "heated."

USA Today reporter and editor Steve Berkowitz says targeting is a tough call in a such fast game.

"This kind of thing can be missed by the on-field refs, but now that they introduced this additional layer into it, yeah, I think it was surprising that they didn't take a look at it," he said.

Berkowitz points out that in other games over the weekend, players were tossed for targeting.

He says there are several reasons behind the new rule -- foremost, player safety -- making it all the more strange officials didn't at least review the hit.

"It creates questions about the credibility of the refs and how well they're doing their jobs," he said.

Monday, Kelly told reporters he sent a clip of the play to the ACC, which provided the officials on the field, and the conference confirmed that it likely should have been a targeting call.

The replay official was from the Big 12, so the ACC will have to discuss with them why a replay didn't happen.

Berkowitz says officials can be disciplined for bad or missed calls, but he adds that punishments are not always public. 

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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