Ole Miss safety ejected for targeting Tulsa receiver

Sports editor Caspian Denton reports on the viral play from TU’s matchup with Ole Miss

Tulsa’s football matchup against Ole Miss on Sept. 24 wasn’t only a close completion, but also included a play that gained a great deal of media attraction. The play occurred with less than a minute and 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter. It consisted of second-string quarterback, Braylon Braxton, scrambling to find a receiver. Braxton eventually locates TU star wide receiver, Keylon Stokes, for a 20-yard catch. Stokes had control of the ball only for a brief second before getting hit helmet-to-helmet by safety Otis Reese. The forceful hit caused Stokes to fumble the ball and get picked up by Ole Miss’ second safety Trey Washington. After the initial hit, Stokes is seen attempting to stand up and continuing to stumble and fall. Teammates and Tulsa’s medical staff quickly rushed to accompany him.

During the play, a flag was thrown after Reese’s tackle. The referee then stated that the play is under review reading if Reese’s tackle was targeting and if Stokes completed the catch. Targeting is the act of when a player lowers their head and makes helmet-to-helmet contact with another player. After review, Stokes did not have control of the ball, so there was no fumble. As for the tackle, it was classified as targeting, which resulted in the ejection of Reese from the rest of the game and the first half of Ole Miss’ next match. While the play was under review, Stokes was able to walk back to the medical tent by himself where he went through the protocol to be checked for a concussion. Stokes was cleared to return within minutes and was back on the field within a single set of downs.

The play went viral after being posted on Oklahoma Sports Bros’ Twitter, currently sitting at 3.8 million views. The video gained much attention due to the harshness of the tackle and the difficulty of Stokes recovering. The clip clearly shows Resse lowering his head and making contact helmet-to-helmet. Hits like this frequently result in a concussion, so it was abnormal that Stokes was able to return shortly after.

The risk of concussions and head injuries, in general, has been a recurring issue within the sport of football. Because the game is fast-paced and physical, events like this are bound to happen. The National Center of Health Research has conducted studies on the very topic and has found “high rates of concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and a serious brain disorder called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in former players.” This is why it is crucial to take the proper precautions when a head injury does occur.

Stokes is certainly one of TU’s best-performing wide receivers, entering the season ranked ninth on the school’s all-time receiving chart with 2,550 career yards. The season has already involved him climbing that ladder even closer to the top. This being said, Stokes’ health is still the priority. As already mentioned, he is said to have passed the protocol while being checked for a concussion. It feels as though after a hit such as that, the medical team should take their time to verify Stokes is good to go, rather than put back in so quickly. The more dangerous symptoms of a concussion frequently come after already having an initial concussion.
The Collegian reached out to the director of communications for our football team to see what the protocol was and how it was approved to establish Stokes was cleared to return to the game but received no response.

Post Author: Caspian Denton