Sunday, September 16, 2012

Defeat at the Glass Bowl....Second Half

Coach Clawson opted to talk about 3 plays in the first half that set the tone for the game.  In his presser, he ended up talking about some things that did happen in the first half.

One thing no one asked him about what UT's opening drive in the second half.  They were up 17-3 after BG made its first and only 2012 FG at the end of the half.  Down 14, BG needed to get the Rockets off the field without points.

Pretty much exactly the opposite happened.  UT ran a 4 play, 75 yard drive that steamrolled the BG defense and resulted in a TD 1:18 into the half and a 24-3 lead.


The BG offense did perk right up, going 72 yards in 6 plays (3:01) for a TD of its own to make the score 24-9.  However, in a play that would have a big impact later, Tyler Tate (who had missed a 36 yarder in the first half) proceeded to miss the extra point.

Things got a little better after that and opened the door for the Falcons.  The defense got a stop on the Rockets next possession and a fumble on the next one.

After the punt, BG got the ball on its own 29 and marched the ball down to the UT 12 with a nice combination of runs and passes.  However, from the 12, BG threw and incompletion, threw another telegraphed flat pass to Pettigrew for a loss of 2 (looked like the same play Idaho intercepted to me) and then it was fourth and 12 from the 14.

In the post game, Coach Clawson said BG went for it because he felt like the team couldn't count on a FG from that distance and Schilz missed Gallon and it was a long drive with no points when your team is down 15.

The door was kept open by the fumble on the next possession.  Starting on UT's 24, BG brought in Jamel Martin for a change of pace and he did a really nice job.  BG had a 4th down that Schilz converted with his feet (!!) and then Pettigrew banged it into the endzone on one of those scrum like deals where he got over on the fourth effort with some help.

Now came the play the media was fascinated with.  Down 24-15, BG was going to need a 2 pt conversion to tie the game.  Coach Clawson opted to go for the 2 right away rather than the extra point to cut the lead to 8.

It was interesting.  In his first explanation, he said that the kicking wasn't a factor and that if you are going to miss it and need to score twice, you'd like to know that and play that way.  (The alternate theory is you keep the game alive as long as you can and if you should get it to one play, then you have as good a shot as anything.)

When pressed a second time, Coach Clawson seemed a little irritated and said that the extra point was not, in fact, a sure thing, and that, in fact, he was thinking about going for two on both TDs for the win, should that all happen.  He acknowledged that it was not the way the "book" says to handle it.  I thought it was the right thing to do when it happened.

Yeah, of course, you know that they missed it or no one would talk about it.

Anyway, what everyone really should have been talking about what was happened next.  Up 9, the Rockets took the ball over on their own 18 with 13:22 left.  The masterfully drove the ball down the field, facing 2nd and 17 and 2nd and situations that ended up being a first down.  When they kicked a FG to take a 12 point lead, there was 5:42 left in the game and BG was left needing to score twice in that period of time.  (Anyone reminded of the '11 OU game on that drive?)

Essentially, that Rocket drive ended the game, and made the decision of going for 1 or 2 completely moot.  BG made one first down before losing the ball on downs and UT killed the next 4:55 without giving the ball back (something we always wish we could do) and that was that.

BG had a shot to get within one score but never did.  At 24 to 15, if BG had the two missed kicks (4 points) and the points they didn't get because they couldn't make a FG, the game is 24 to 24 and much different.  However, if the Rockets run that 8 minute drive, even that doesn't matter.

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