Should Torii Hunter Hit Been Called Targeting?

In a game of big plays, one of the biggest plays in Notre Dame’s crushing season opening loss was the missed targeting call on wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr.  The senior wide receiver looked like he was about to secure a go a head touchdown when he was maliciously hit in the head by Texas defensive back Deshon Elliot.  No flag was thrown, no review of the play was called for.

When asked about the play at the end of the game, Brian Kelly didn’t mince words.  “Obviously very disappointed we lost Torii Hunter to a blow to the head.  It wasn’t even reviewed which doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Kelly.  “I’ve been in this game a long time and I know when someone gets hit in the head – and he was certainly hit in the head in that play in the end-zone.”

“Just unfortunate that it wasn’t officiated or reviewed in a manner I thought it should have been,” Kelly added.

When asked about the discussions he had with the officials regarding that play Kelly’s only response was, “Heated.”

At the time of the play Notre Dame trailed Texas 31-28 and a targeting call would have set Notre Dame up with a first and goal.  Without the blow to the head, Hunter looked like he would have come down with the catch to put the Irish up.

Instead of facing a first and down, however, Notre Dame lined up for a field that ended up getting blocked by Texas.

Some – mainly Texas fans based on their reaction in the stands – will scoff at the notion that the play should have been called targeting, but based on reviewing the play, it looks like a clear cut case of targeting if their ever was one.  Considering officials are told that “if it’s questionable” it’s targeting; it seems pretty obvious that it should have been called.

Hunter’s status for next week against Nevada is up in the air now.



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  1. Rbrister 3 years ago

    Bob, I have heard that but not seen it from the ACC anywhere. I stand corrected if that is the case. Can anyone show that statement? Truth be told, it should have been reviewed and perhaps should have been called targeting. My issue is the idiotic comments complaining of cheating. Cheating refs, cheating Texas, institutional cheating because ND is a richer school than UT (both false and idiotic). i did finally get to see one ND fan give kudos to an opponent for a good game. I am not just a Texas ex and UT homer, I have also followed ND football since the 80s. I do think DeShone Kizer is the real deal and I am glad Kelly did not have it figured out before game day or it would have been a different story and i suspect, none of the targeting discussions would even be taking place right now.

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    1. Greg 3 years ago

      Should have been a touchdown before the hit because he had control of the ball on his first step. College football only requires one foot inbounds and the replay shows he had one foot down. Just another many blown calls during the game. My brother played college ball and he told me it was targeting. So they blew two calls.

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  2. Joe H 3 years ago

    No…never let this go. It’s all about cheating and worthless refs. Iits about deliberately inflictimg injury on a player to win. It is epidemic in football. The two BYU players in the BYU Utah game that WERE hit with targetting were not even close to what Texas did. Mc Chesney and the other guy never made helmet to helmet contact. It was crooked ref calls. If you think it’s not worth fighting about look at all three targetting cases and tell me how BYU was targetting and Texas wasn’t . Besides Hunter had blood on his forehead and the hypocrites at the NCAA and Big 12 say nothing. At least on the 2 BYU cases, the plays were reviewed and at different angles. They did review them. Not so with the ACC refs on the Texas field. These refs should be sanctioned and booted.

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    1. Bob 3 years ago

      Unfortunately ACC Football Officials have had a history of missed or wrong calls. I don’t think they intentionally have done so, but it is interesting that when considering ND games officiated by ACC refs we can see some of the results: The ‘pick’ call against the winning ND TD against Florida State by a ref on the other side of the field while the two closest refs did not see the pick, but on the same play there was an obvious hold by FSU against an ND receiver in the endzone and an FSU player (thinking the TD was good and that FSU had lost) took his helmet off and threw it down………..both penalties MISSED ON THE SAME PLAY………..Last against Stanford last yea,r near the goal line, the Stanford tight end was covered by an offensive lineman, but he went into the endzone to catch a TD pass……………NO PENALTY CALL…….THE OFFICIALS MISSED IT………..

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    2. Rbrister 3 years ago

      such a crybaby. joe, EVERY PLAY has helmet to helmet contact! EVERY PLAY! if hunter catches the ball, you are saying nothing about “targeting” ! you really think Elliot got up that morning and decided he was going to target someone in the end zone that day? You really think the refs from the ACC and Big 12 colluded on a bang bang play to ensure ND did not score? For what reason? Because Texas is wealthier than ND (a different idiotic comment from another ND homer). In fact, ONLY ND homers see targeting, no refs, no opponents, no ACC or Big 12 refs, no rules committees, As someone else said in an earlier tirade of yours, Go to Burger King as that is the only way you are going to get it your way. Wow. take a nap. start your day again later. Eaaasyyy now…easssyy…..there…there we go…yeah.

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      1. Bob 3 years ago

        In answer to one comment, the ACC is on record saying THAT IT WAS TARGETING and their officials missed the call

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  3. Rbrister 3 years ago

    Wow, guys! get over it! It was not targeting! It was not a touchdown. This play did not change the momentum nor did it lose you the game! Giving up 50 points and 517 yds and underestimating Texas is what lost you the game. OMG, never a bunch elite crybabies has ever existed. Wow!! And to one person’s idiotic comment about jealousy playing a wealthier team, perhaps playing a team 2.5 times wealthier than ND did impact ND play. Was that your point? If so, you have to work on that…. Wow!! you lost. Focus on Nevada. Let this one go.

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  4. Marlon m 3 years ago

    Prime example of the Texas good ol’e boy network, hometown referee got envelope loaded with 100 bills after game, thats how it works in the dirty south…sad but true

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  5. Joe H 3 years ago

    Rules?? They make this cap up as they go along. No one will ever tell me refs aren’t in the pockets of Las Vegas casinos. They had to prevent ND from scoring the touchdown. Hunter caught the ball. His foot was down in the in zone before the latest hit targetting him. Be the way why did his two teammates just stand there? They knew Hunter caught the ball and they couldn’t do anything until the third guys nose dives into Hunter’S helmet. Unbelievably crooked. Refs have to cheat to support their conference and Las Vegas gamblers…the point spread was 3 points? Close eniugh.

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  6. Biff 3 years ago

    He caught the ball in the air and landed on one foot in bounds. This is a completed pass in college ball? He took the hit after he landed on one foot. Shouldn’t this be a catch and a touch down? Are the rules different for a reception in the end zone. You see players having completed passes going out of bounds with only one foot inbounds.

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  7. Joe H 3 years ago

    Yal, hit with the shoulder and then bash their brains out…yal, the Irish can do it too. Love it!!! Oh the idiots at the ACC said it looked like targetting the way the guy put his head down on his swoop into Hunter’S helmet. But that’s ok. I want to see the Irish blast their opponents brains out. It should be fun to see what the NCAA says in their worthless investigation. But the Big 12 will overrule the NCAA.

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  8. MikeT 3 years ago

    The refs on the field were ACC refs, not Big 12. The ref in the replay booth was Big 12.I was rooting for the Irish but I thought it was a good none call. Helmets may have hit but his shoulder hit first.

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  9. Joe H 3 years ago

    Well the Big 12 says definitely it was not targetting. This is actually great because now the Irish can do the same thing against future opponents. Two can play at the same thing. The Irish have some big guys capable of bloodING up a few quarterbacks and receivers. Go for it Irish! It’s ok. We saw a textbook example of how to do it. Bash their brains out!!!

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