Joel Klatt sounded like he was having a great time calling Saturday’s game between Penn State and Wisconsin alongside Gus Johnson, but there was one play late in the Big Ten battle that had the Fox Sports analyst fuming.
During a pivotal fourth-quarter drive, Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz attempted to scramble for a first down, but he was met by Nittany Lions linebacker Ellis Brooks. The redshirt senior smashed Mertz near the sideline, leaving Wisconsin with a fourth-and-short situation.
Unfortunately for Penn State, the officiating crew reviewed the play after a Wisconsin timeout and determined that Brooks had committed a targeting foul. Brooks was ejected from the contest, and the Badgers got a fresh set of downs.
Mertz takes a huge hit from Brooks that was confirmed as targeting after review. Brooks has been disqualified from the remainder of the game. pic.twitter.com/89pfzBhcqe
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 4, 2021
Klatt didn’t hold back after hearing the ruling. He made it clear that he hated the ejection and felt that targeting rules needed to account for the intent of defensive players.
“The guy’s not out there head-hunting,” Klatt said on the broadcast. “He’s playing fast. It’s a violent sport. This is a good player. It’s a really good player. He’s the heart and soul of this defense right now. He shouldn’t be ejected from the game. You want to throw a flag? Throw a flag. Eject the guy from a game?
“We’ve gotta fix this in college football. It’s a disgrace.”
Penn State’s defense managed to hold on without Brooks, as Jaquan Brisker and Ji’Ayir Brown picked off Mertz passes on Wisconsin’s final two drives of the game. The Nittany Lions’ 16-10 victory extended their winning streak over Wisconsin to five games, the longest winning streak by either team in the history of the series, per ESPN Stats and Info.
“I’m just super proud of the entire team,” Penn State coach James Franklin told Fox Sports’ Jenny Taft after the game. “That’s a gutsy win on the road in a hostile environment. Obviously our defense played unbelievable.”
Taft didn’t ask Franklin about the ejection, which was probably the best thing for Klatt’s blood pressure.