help with rule clarification on Ramirez hit/fumble

Not trying to be an SEC ref conspiracy theorist, but hoped someone, maybe who does HS officiating, or just understands the rules better than me could clarify something.

Does anyone have a good explanation for how Santos Ramirez’s hit on the receiver (#12) mid-4th quarter could have been ruled incomplete and not a reception and fumble? I’m trying to use logic which is probably why I can’t make sense of the call.

They called the pass incomplete. If that’s honestly the case, how can you call it incomplete and NOT call a targeting penalty on Ramirez for hitting a defenseless player. Either he’s still in the act of catching it which would seem to mean you are defenseless by virtue of watching the ball into your hands and still looking back to the quarterback or you have caught it prior to the hit and therefore its a fumble.

Through my hog-colored glasses it sure seemed like he had made a reception, pulled it to his side, taken a step or two and was turned up field as Ramirez hit him.

It looked like a clean hit to me. It wasn’t anywhere near the head or neck, and he didn’t lead with the crown of the helmet, in my opinion.

I think it was incomplete because they determined he didn’t “make a football move.” Based on the way the officials are taught to make those calls, I would have said it should have been ruled a catch and a fumble, then be reviewed.

Gotcha. thanks for the clarification.

Only a player that does not have the ball can be “defenseless”. The pass wasn’t ruled incomplete until after the ball hit the ground, which was after the hit took place.

I also felt it was a catch and fumble. I believe that the conference head official should require that all
game officials rule it as such. Reason being is that once ruled incomplete, the defense has no opportunity to return it if later reviewed and deemed a catch/fumble. The defense simply gets the ball at the point they gained possession.