California played part of the fourth quarter of its season-opening loss last week to No. 22 Northwestern without defensive lineman Chris McCain, one of its best defenders, who had been ejected for targeting in a hit on Huskies quarterback Trevor Siemian.
Turns out, the call was never reviewed by the instant replay official who has the ability to overturn the ejection portion of the call on the field under the new targeting rule. The Pac-12 explained that the replay official wasn't able to review the play because of "a technical failure and resulting breakdown in communication."
Northwestern won the game 44-30.
The Pac-12 has since reviewed the play and decided officials were correct in flagging McCain for roughing the passer but that the hit to Siemian's head wasn't intentional and McCain should have been allowed to stay in the game.
The new targeting rule also requires that a player who is ejected for targeting sit out the first half of the following game if the call occurs in the second half. McCain was supposed to miss the first half of this week's home game with Portland State but he will be allowed to play the entire game.
In a news release, the Pac-12 said the technical issue that led to the mistake has been corrected and the replay crew has been disciplined.