Week #1A (College Football Only) – Loser of the Week

It has to go to Villanova.  They lost a game when two running plays instead of two incomplete passes would’ve kept the clock running before kicking the go ahead field goal would’ve all but guaranteed a win.  Instead too much time was left for a Temple comeback.

Navy is a close second for bungling the end of the first half.

VA Tech is a tough one.  You can go either way on it.  I would’ve called a better play with a QB run option or a high percentage shorter pass and tried to keep the clock moving.

Navy vs. Maryland – Bungled opportunities.

Wow, what a game.  Navy dominated this game and yet made so many mistakes include a key clock management mistake.

At the end of the first half, Navy had a 1st down at the Maryland 11 with :50 left and one timeout.  They ran on first down, didn’t call timeout, took a lot of time to get the next play off, did so with :26 left, ran the ball again, let at least 6 seconds run off the clock after the play was over before calling timeout with :12 left.  Then on 3rd down, the QB instead of throwing it away to kick a field goal scrambled and was stopped short of the goal line and the clock expired.  Navy lost by 3.  That was a huge missed opportunity for a field goal.

Maryland made a mistake at end of the game in not calling timeout sooner to give themselves more time if Navy scored the go ahead touchdown but they didn’t score so it didn’t matter.

Also, I thought Navy’s play call on 4th and goal was terrible.  The quick option pitch to the right side has been killing Maryland all game.  I can’t believe they didn’t call it again.

Boise State vs. Virginia Tech – Classic or typical clock management situation.

I’m watching this game live and there is a classic clock management situation.  Should VA Tech have passed on 3rd down with 2:06 left in the game and Boise State out of timeouts?  A run (quarterback draw) would have kept the clock moving and Boise State would’ve got the ball back with about 1:10 left instead of about 1:50.  The other team has no timeouts, a first down will ice the game but do you just run the ball or throw a short yardage high percentage pass to keep the clock running on third and long?  However, the way Boise State drove down the field, they probably would’ve scored even getting the ball back with only 1:10 left.

Now, has Boise State scored too quickly?  There is 1:09 left with the kickoff to come and VA Tech has two timeouts.

Tulsa vs. East Carolina – No mistakes made.

What an ending with East Carolina winning on the last play of the game, a 33 yard hail mary pass to the end zone.  I checked Tulsa’s last drive to see if they could’ve run the clock down even more.  They got the ball with 6:05 left in the game and with the exception of the first play of the drive (incomplete pass) the clock never stopped thereafter other than for first downs and an East Carolina timeout.  East Carolina got the ball back with 1:15 left.  I can’t say they did anything wrong.  They had to score, they had a time consuming drive, and they used as much clock as possible.

Saturday Summary

Well, there really isn’t much to write about from Saturday’s action.  Too many blowout games.

Let’s put an advisory watch though on Kansas Head Coach Turner Gill.  At the end of the first half, not the best executed two minute drill and in the second half, all three time outs were used up with over 8 minutes left in the game.  The Jayhawks could’ve used them at the end of the game.

Sometime it’s hard to determine clock management issues from the play by play reporting because it isn’t 100% accurate.  Trying to figure out how much time was left on the play clock when a play started is a guessing game.  That’s why some of the better examples will come from watching a game live.  In the University of Washington at BYU game, I was watching the last few minutes and I thought we were going to have a classic clock management situation which doesn’t appear as clearly in the play by play.  The Huskies were trailing by 6 with around two minutes left.  Jake Locker had been sacked on 3rd down bringing up 4th and 7.  The clock was moving.  The Huskies called timeout with 1:58 left.  No problem with the timeout but there were 30 seconds left on the play clock.  At least let the clock run down and then call timeout.  1:28 would’ve been plenty of time left to score a touchdown assuming they got the first down.  The goal also should’ve been to leave as little time for BYU when they got the ball back because they only would’ve needed a field goal to win.  And BYU had all three timeouts remaining.  It became a moot point when Washington didn’t get the first down but it could’ve been one of those WTF moments.  I was so hoping for Washington to get the first down and then score the touchdown!

I did notice a few other things throughout the day but when the team already has a big lead, it doesn’t really matter at this point.  Kansas State had a similar error to Washington, calling timeout with too much time on the play clock left in the last few minutes of that game but in the end, they still won.  I’m looking forward to NFL games next weekend where generally the games are a lot closer and there are always clock management issues.

Illinois vs. Missouri – Heads up play.

Illinois had 3rd and 10 from its own 45 with :12 left in the first half and no timeouts.  Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase scrambled for 20 yards.  He knew he had to get out of bounds and as he approached the sideline he looked up at the clock to make sure he went out of bounds with time left on the clock.  Illinois kicked a 52 yard field goal as time expired.  Nice play Nathan.

Villanova vs. Temple – What an ending!

So here’s an interesting clock management strategy situation that happened in this game that had a wild ending not only with the lead changing hands three times in the last 4 minutes of the game but a crazy gambling cover on the last play that didn’t impact who won the game.

First the clock management issue.  So Villanova got the ball back on a Temple fumble at Temple’s 22 yard line with 2:17 left in the game and trailing 22-21.  A field goal could potentially win the game.   A first down rush lost 2 yards and Temple called timeout.  From the play-by-play summary, it appears to be Temple’s 3rd timeout.  So here’s the dilemma.  A 41 yard filed goal is no gimme.  But on both 2nd and 3rd downs, Villanova had incomplete passes that stopped the clock.  They did make the 41 yard field goal to take a 24-22 lead but Temple got the ball back after the kickoff with 1:43 remaining and proceeded to drive down the field to kick a field goal to take a 25-24 lead with :03 left.  If Villanova had run the ball twice (and maybe even gained some positive yardage), Temple would have got the ball back with less than :40 left.  It would have been a lot tougher for them to score the game winning field goal with a full minute less.  This one is tough because Villanova was trying to get closer and get a first down and felt the best way to do so was by passing the ball.  But knowing that their kicker did eventually make a 41 yard field goal, running the ball would have almost guaranteed the win even if they just ran it on one of the two downs.

As a side note, on the final play of the game which was the kickoff, Villanova tried to lateral the ball multiple times and eventually Temple recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown to make the score 31-24.  It took the official’s 15 minutes to confirm the score.  The significance?  Temple was favored by 4.5 points.  For those of you who took Villanova, it was a cruel twist of fate as Temple ended up covering.