BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers defense played lights-out all night on Saturday, but the biggest blow came with just minutes left in the game.
Star linebacker Devin White was penalized for targeting as he attempted to sack Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. After further review by the referees, White was ejected from the game.
The penalty took place in the second half of the game, which means White will also be suspended for the first half of the Tigers highly-anticipated matchup against top-ranked Alabama on Nov. 3. LSU and Bama both have bye weeks before they meet in Death Valley.
White took to Twitter after the game, not directly addressing the call.
— DEVIN WHITE 4??0?? (@DevinWhite__40) October 21, 2018
Both Tigers fans and non-Tiger fans also spoke out on social media, expressing their frustration over the call. Accompanying many of the posts is the hashtag #FreeDevinWhite.
Even Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards needed a little bit of explaining after the play.
Someone is going to have to explain the definition of “targeting” to me. From what I know, that wasn’t it. #GeauxTigers
— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) October 21, 2018
According to Ross Dellenger with Sports Illustrated, LSU AD Joe Alleva contacted the league office after the game in reference to the targeting call against White. It is unclear if LSU would have any chance in getting the penalty repealed.
Statement from SEC Office on targeting call on LSU player Devin White in response to request for comment from media in Baton Rouge:
By rule, no player shall target and make forcible contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent. The QB on the play was defenseless at the time of the contact. By rule, all targeting calls are reviewed. The call was reviewed and confirmed.