Missouri defense copes with Hall’s ejection against Alabama

After exiting the game in the second quarter for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Damien Harris, the Tigers gave up 24 points.
Sophomore running back Larry Rountree is wrapped up by Alabama defenders during Missouri's 39-10 loss at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018.

Linebacker Cale Garrett called it a football play. Coach Barry Odom thought it was unfortunate but necessary. Regardless of the rationale, linebacker Terez Hall was disqualified at the beginning of the second quarter for a targeting call on Alabama running back Damien Harris, leaving a vocal hole in the Missouri defense.

“I’m an advocate to make the greatest game in the world the safest game it can be,” Odom said after the game. “Through targeting, that’s one way we can eliminate some of those [injuries].”

The NCAA considers targeting, amongst other qualifiable situations, “forcible contact with the crown of his helmet.” During the play, Hall lowered his body to make the tackle while linebacker Brandon Lee simultaneously tackled Harris, who had also lowered his body to push for extra yards. It resulted in a helmet-to-helmet collision that matched the targeting rule. Hall was ejected.

True freshman Nick Bolton took over in Hall’s place and recorded eight tackles in the game.

“[Bolton] has a really bright future,” Garrett said. “He’s a really smart guy. He has a high football character and IQ.”

Although Missouri held Alabama to its lowest point total this year, Hall’s departure especially left a verbal hole in a defense struggling to keep up with Alabama.

“Defense relies on communication,” Garrett said. “I’m more of a lead-by-example guy, but when you lose a guy like [Hall], it’s something to take note of.”

The Crimson Tide finished the drive with a touchdown, and went on to score three more in the game along with a field goal. In the second half, the Missouri held Alabama nine points.

For Odom, the defense’s performance was a positive take away from the game.

“There were two drives started inside the 15-yard line where they came away with three points on both of them, so that’s a good thing,” Odom said.

Because he was disqualified during the first half of the game, Hall will be eligible to play for the entirety of Missouri’s homecoming game against Memphis next Saturday.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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