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Agree or Disagree with Going for Two Point Conversion?

Photo by Keyli Chisesi (Go Big Blue Country)

 

The Kentucky Wildcats season didn’t end as planned in Nashville on Friday evening, as Northwestern won the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl 24-23 at Nissan Stadium.

 

With his team trailing 24-23 with less than a minute to play, Mark Stoops decided to keep the offense on the field to attempt a two-point conversion, rather than taking the PAT to force overtime. Stephen Johnson’s pass deflected off the hand of Tavin Richardson, resulting in a heartbreaking one-point loss in Nashville.

 

The Wildcats battled and overcame a lot of adversity in the game, which is why I think the decision to go for two was much easier for Stoops to make. Stephen Johnson was banged up and Kentucky had played three-quarters of the game without star running back Benny Snell Jr., who was ejected in the first half. Factor in the suspension of DE/LB Denzil Ware and the injury to CJ Conrad and Kentucky was missing a lot of firepower. Northwestern also dominated Kentucky on the ground, outrushing the Wildcats 333-65 while running 16 more plays.

 

It was a tough call to make and one that would result in either praise or criticism. Ultimately, Stoops decided to ride the momentum and go for two points, which I actually believe was the correct call in that situation. You’re facing the No. 21 team in the country and if you take a close look at statistics, Kentucky had no business having a chance to win the game.

 

On the other hand, the Kentucky defense played strong in short field situations, which would be the setting for overtime. The Wildcat defense turned Northwestern over on downs on four occasions, keeping hopes of a victory alive. I think the situation with less than a minute on the clock played a huge factor in Stoops decision to go for two. If a minute or more were on the clock, I say Stoops takes the PAT and plays for overtime.

 

Honestly, I don’t think there was a wrong choice to make. If Richardson hauls in the pass from Johnson, we are having a completely different conversation but that wasn’t the case. Also, there was no guarantee that Northwestern wouldn’t have marched down the field for a game-winning field goal attempt. If it were the regular season, I say Stoops kicks the PAT. He’s been criticized for being conservative and now most likely for being aggressive.

 

What would you have done? Let’s hear it.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Steve

    December 30, 2017 at 2:12 am12

    Agree

  2. Gary Curry

    December 30, 2017 at 2:12 am12

    Totally agree…

  3. Tim Ellis

    December 30, 2017 at 2:12 am12

    Agree

  4. Duayne

    December 30, 2017 at 2:12 am12

    It really wasn’t that difficult of a call to make. Neither team ran well inside on short yardage in the second half. UK was without Snell and UK had shown they could stop NW on short yardage. That’s a key reason not to go for two if you are UK. Everyone knew it wasn’t going to be an inside run which made it easier to defend. In OT passing would have mostly been a wash for both teams and NW had an edge running the ball. Having said that, NW didn’t score a point in the second half that wasn’t a result of a UK turnover if I remember correctly so UK’s D gave them an advantage. But NW had a freshman kicker and UK had it’s all time best kicker which would have put a lot more pressure on NW. As Cal says, make the easy play. An extra point was as close to 100% as it gets and UK would have a distinct advantage in OT due to their second half D and the kicking game. Going for two? Under 50% and probably closer to 20% without Snell. UK was also much better in the red zone on the day (See NW’s kicking woes). If you are going to go for two at least roll out and make the D defend the pass and possibly a Johnson run (which had already worked twice in the red zone). The point in the article about a NW FG after UK possibly tied the game is not really much of a point because the same criteria applies whether the game is tied or UK is up one. Really, UK up one would have pressed NW into plays they didn’t want to make with a backup QB. They were never noted as a big play team anyway. This wasn’t a difficult choice at all. It’s one thing to be ballsy. It’s another to make a really bad calls both with going for it and the play call. I prayed for an off side so UK would be forced to kick the PAT and I would have been fine with the outcome if they had kicked the PAT.

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