Louisville senior linebacker James Burgess was ejected just 11 seconds into the final game of his career, after officials ruled this hit on Texas A&M receiver Damion Ratley constituted targeting. The NCAA rule book defines ejection-worthy targeting as:
No player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder.
“Targeting” means that a player takes aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with forcible contact that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball. Some indicators of targeting include but are not limited to:
- Launch—a player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make contact in the head or neck area
- A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with contact at the head or neck area, even though one or both feet are still onthe ground
- Leading with helmet, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with contact at the head or neck area
- Lowering the head before attacking by initiating contact with the crown of the helmet
Since being hurt on the play, Ratley has yet to return. Shaq Wiggins, the Louisville cornerback who was tackling Ratley from behind, suffered a lower back strain on the play. He sat out the rest of the first quarter before eventually returning to play.