NORMAN — The game had been over for close to an hour, and coach Mike Stoops was still perplexed. The Sooners’ defensive coordinator couldn’t explain why safety Gabe Lynn was called for targeting in the first half of Oklahoma’s 51-21 win over Tulsa.
“I thought he hit him clean with his shoulder,” Stoops said. “I don’t understand why that’s a foul. That’s what he’s taught to do. It’s an overreaction to all this. And that’s what you’re afraid of as coaches, players. They are scared. That’s what we teach them, to go low. Maybe he targeted too high.”
Late in the first quarter, the Golden Hurricane had driven down the field deep into Oklahoma territory. On third, Lynn smashed Tulsa running back Trey Watts in the end zone to prevent a touchdown.
However, Lynn was flagged for targeting and by rule was thrown out of the games and assessed a 15-yard penalty. Also by rule, the play was reviewed and it was deemed Lynn didn’t hit Franks with his helmet but with his shoulder pads.
The ejection was overturned, but the 15-yard penalty stayed in place and Tulsa had first and goal at the Sooners’ 6-yard line. Two plays later Watts scored to close Oklahoma’s lead to 10-7.
“That was very disappointing,” Oklahoma’s Charles Tapper said. “Especially for the defensive line. We didn’t get enough push. Right there that was basically on us. I felt like the referee made a good call at first. He just didn’t notice that he made the play with his shoulder, not his helmet.”
The touchdown ended up being meaningless in the fact the Sooners still won by 31 points. However, the play itself in which Lynn was called for targeting, could have further reaching effects on the team.