ATLANTA -- Missouri defensive end Shane Ray, the SEC's leader in sacks, was ejected Saturday from the SEC Championship Game on a targeting call against Alabama quarterback Blake Sims.
Just after Sims released a 58-yard touchdown pass to DeAndrew White to put Alabama ahead 14-0, Ray delivered a hit to Sims' head that drew a flag and subsequent ejection. Although the hit wasn't necessarily a late one, targeting rules prohibit defenders from hitting "defenseless" players above the shoulders, under penalty of ejection.
Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin reacted to the announcement of Ray's ejection with a pump of his fist.
Had the penalty occurred in the second half, Ray's ejection would have carried over to halftime of Missouri's bowl game. Because it came in the first half, the ejection stands only for the game. A junior, Ray is considered one of the top NFL prospects in the nation among underclassmen.
Ray entered the game with 13.5 sacks, which leads the league, and collected another in the first quarter.