Colorado’s Shilo Sanders on his controversial ejection: ‘It’s just up to the refs’

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College Football

Oct. 31, 2023 8:59 p.m. ET

Colorado safety Shilo Sanders, son of head coach Deion Sanders, was ejected on the basis of a controversial targeting call against UCLA on Saturday night. And while many came to Sanders’ defense — including “Undisputed” cohost Richard Sherman and Rob Gronkowski — the Buffaloes senior believes the call is ultimately decided by the referee’s judgment. 

“After that play, I went home and I did my research on just football nowadays. A lot of big hits. What I came up with, it’s really just up to the refs in those situations,” Sanders said to reporter Tuesday. “Even in the NFL they don’t call things like that. Everyone has the narrative that football’s getting soft, which is kind of true.

“But even in the NFL, I’ve seen some hits that were worse than that, and they didn’t call it. So I think it’s just up to the refs.” 

Sander’s ejection is one example of the confusing parameters that define targeting in college football. However, despite the lack of clarity surrounding the rule, Sanders doesn’t plan on tweaking his tackling approach.

“I’m just one of those players that, I just try to have my presence felt when I’m on the field,” the Buffaloes DB said. “I want to come in and let everyone know where ‘Headache Gang’ is. So, that’s how I play. I don’t really think I need to change. Maybe I can go a little lower, just to make sure, because I can’t do my team like that and not be available for them.”

The Buffaloes ultimately ended up losing against the Bruins 28-16, after Sanders was ejected in the second quarter.

“So I just have to play my game. If I get in a situation like that, just know it’s up to the refs. I won’t change my play style. But still be conscious of, ‘Hey if [I] can go a little lower, make sure,’ because I’ve got this target on my back too. It says Sanders, so. That’s pretty much how I’m thinking.” 

Colorado’s record currently stands at 1-4, and will take on No. 16 Oregon State on Saturday with Sanders back in action as they continue Pac-12 conference play. 

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