No Huddle: Do You Go for Two to Beat the No. 1 Staff or Play for Time beyond regulation?

You’re the coach of a Energy 5 school soccer crew and your offense simply put collectively a 16-play, 75-yard scoring drive to attain a landing with lower than 90 seconds left in a recreation in opposition to the No. 1 crew within the nation, which is coming off of a season wherein it grew to become the primary 15-Zero nationwide champion within the sport in over 100 years.

The landing brings you inside one level of that crew, which implies you’ll be able to both kick the PAT to tie the sport and play for extra time at house or you’ll be able to roll the cube and go for 2 and the win, pushing your metaphorical chips of 58 and a half minutes of fine play into the center of the desk.

What do you do?

That’s the choice that North Carolina Coach Mack Brown confronted Saturday when Javonte Williams’ one-yard landing run lower No. 1 Clemson’s result in 21-20.

He elected for the latter in a transfer that, anecdotally, appeared to be met with approval – earlier than and after UNC failed on its two-point conversion try – by analysts and media members on TV and Twitter.

Should you haven’t seen it but, right here’s the play North Carolina ran – an choice designed to get Clemson’s momentum going to the left whereas quarterback Sam Howell ran to the proper.

The one – or relatively, the most important – drawback is that Clemson defensive finish Xavier Thomas (#Three lined up on the sting on the close to aspect) ran utterly untouched by way of North Carolina’s line between the Tar Heels’ proper deal with and tight finish.

North Carolina’s proper deal with was left looking for somebody to dam (if you happen to watch the play by way of, he by no means actually blocks anybody) and Thomas is ready to stop Howell from attending to the sting, chasing him into two awaiting Tigers. The ball squirts out and bounces completely to vast receiver Dazz Newsome on the 4-yard line however he bumped into his personal teammate and was knocked out of bounds.

No good.


The play’s execution ought to take the brunt of any criticism relatively than its design – Clemson linebacker James Skalski, who helped deal with Howell, was additionally unblocked – however we’re right here to debate the choice of going for the two-point conversion vs. taking the PAT, not the play itself. (Should you’re focused on two-point conversion play-calling, right here’s a narrative from Massive Ten Media Days the place I requested gamers to diagram a hypothetical game-winning two-point conversion to win the Massive Ten Championship.)

I used to be curious, simply how usually does a crew go for 2 in opposition to the No. 1 crew within the nation and the way usually does it work?

The final profitable two-point conversion scored in opposition to the No. 1 crew within the nation was from South Carolina in opposition to Clemson in Week 13 of the 2015 season, when Lorenzo Nunez ran it in following a direct snap to chop the Tigers’ result in 28-25 with 12:19 left within the fourth quarter. Clemson received 37-32 to finish an undefeated common season.

Like 2019 North Carolina, 2015 South Carolina was enjoying at house and it was a vastly inferior crew that season because the Gamecocks completed the 12 months 3-9.

Since that recreation, the No. 1 crew within the nation – it has often been Alabama or Clemson – has surrendered 94 touchdowns, a mean of 1.Eight per recreation, and the opposing crew has gone for 2 after simply 5 of these scores.

4 of the 5 two-point tries got here in opposition to Alabama within the fourth quarter. Right here’s the whole breakdown:

  • 2015 ACC Championship: No. 10 North Carolina vs. No. 1 Clemson, main 9-7, 1:44 remaining within the first quarter
  • Week Three in 2016: No. 19 Ole Miss vs. No. 1 Alabama, trailing 48-43, 2:51 remaining within the fourth quarter
  • Week 6 in 2016: No. 16 Arkansas vs. No. 1 Alabama, trailing 49-30, 3:18 remaining within the fourth quarter
  • Week 13 in 2017: No. 6 Auburn vs. No. 1 Alabama, main 20-14, 12:49 remaining within the fourth quarter
  • Week Three in 2017: Colorado State vs. No. 1 Alabama, trailing 41-23, 1:46 remaining within the fourth quarter


So based mostly on that 3.5-year pattern measurement, the opposing crew goes for 2 in opposition to the No. 1 crew roughly 5 % of the time after it scores a landing.

Mack Brown’s resolution Saturday felt like a kind of justifiable five-percent selections.

In lots of regards (yards per carry, 3-and-outs, first downs), North Carolina performed Clemson to a relative attract Week 5 however North Carolina’s earlier possessions within the second half resulted in a turnover on downs at Clemson’s 45, a punt after a four-play, two-yard drive, a punt after a five-play, 15-yard drive and a 3-and-out.

In different phrases, North Carolina wasn’t dicing up Clemson’s protection – at the least not with any consistency.

The Tar Heels’ first two touchdowns got here after Dyami Brown known as his shot with a wave to quarterback Sam Howell earlier than somewhat stutter-step that arrange a landing on the opening drive of the sport (proven beneath) and the second got here after Clemson fumbled in its personal territory.


In a simplistic, mathematical perspective, Clemson was arguably extra more likely to win the sport the longer that it continued, based mostly on the expertise hole between the 2 groups and the rules of variance. It’s why North Carolina can be extra more likely to win if, say, every crew solely had two possessions within the recreation than if every crew had the ball 20 instances on offense.

The longer the pattern measurement, the extra seemingly the result is to satisfy its anticipated consequence. When the crew ranked No. 1 within the nation is enjoying a 2-2 crew, the anticipated result’s that the No. 1 crew within the nation goes to win.

“I’ve at all times had the speculation that the longer the sport goes, one of the best crew wins,” Mack Brown stated after the sport, “they usually had one of the best crew.”

“I felt like that with the clock getting all the way down to 1:16 that our greatest probability to win the sport was to go for 2 as a result of we had been on the market so much on protection and worn down they usually had extra depth than we had,” Brown stated. “I simply felt prefer it was our probability, after which we nonetheless had a minute and sixteen (seconds) and we had been making an attempt to kill a while, however we scored too quick, and Phil (Longo) thought he had a great play to win the sport on the 2 factors and simply didn’t do it.”

Did Mack have any regrets along with his resolution?

“I’ve completely little doubt in my thoughts we must always’ve gone for 2,” he stated. “I simply want we had made it. We’re having a special dialog if we make it. You’re all speaking about me being a genius as a substitute of an fool. So, that’s the distinction in two factors.”

Kicking the PAT efficiently extends the sport for North Carolina, seemingly forcing extra time, however if you’re at a big expertise drawback, that’s not essentially a great factor.


1st & 10

  1. Alabama vast receiver DeVonta Smith had 11 receptions for 274 yards and 5 touchdowns within the Crimson Tide’s 59-31 win over Ole Miss, together with 221 yards and 4 touchdowns within the first half. Touchdowns Nos. 2-Four got here in a four-minute, 40-second stretch within the second quarter. Not dangerous for the crew’s third-best receiver.
  2. Talking of Ole Miss, I wouldn’t have wished to share the coaches’ box with Wealthy Rodriguez yesterday.
  3. In opposition to Notre Dame, Virginia executed the best on-side kick I’ve ever seen.
  4. In a dropping effort in opposition to No. 25 Michigan State and SP+’s No. 1 protection within the nation, Indiana redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Penix Jr.was 33-for-42 for 286 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and 20 straight completions within the first highway begin of his profession.
  5. No. 24 SMU (5-0) is ranked for the primary time since 1986.
  6. Baylor has made one (1) area purpose this season and it was a 38-yarder within the remaining minute to beat Iowa State on Saturday. Perhaps it’s the Bears, not the Cyclones, who’re the Massive 12’s third-best crew.
  7. FOX analyst Reggie Bush’s ideas on No. Eight Wisconsin’s 24-15 win over Northwestern: “Two actually good groups going at it.” That’s, uh, one technique to put it when describing a recreation wherein the Wildcats’ offense (No 123 SP+) was concerned.
  8. Severe query: Is this the quickest punter within the nation? (Shoutout to his teammate, No. 44, for not caring to dam downfield in any respect.)
  9. Oklahoma transformed on a 4th & 11 from Texas Tech’s 41-yard line and I wasn’t stunned within the slightest.
  10. Later within the half, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts scrambled for a 25-yard achieve on 2nd & 10 (proven beneath) as he picked up additional yards by side-stepping Crimson Raiders defensive again Dadrion Taylor, inflicting Taylor to launch into teammate Xavier Benson, who wanted medical consideration from Texas Tech’s coaching employees. It was a success that might’ve been known as focusing on if Benson was a Sooner. Should you rewatch the play, there wasn’t an eye-popping juke or show of top-end velocity that allowed Hurts to select up 25 yards. However it was an unimaginable play nonetheless. He confirmed great pocket consciousness and downfield imaginative and prescient, then confirmed the lower-body energy to maintain his legs transferring. Performs like which might be why he was back in the weight room after the win.



Perhaps we must always’ve seen this coming

I subscribe to varied groups’ media relations mailing lists and Rutgers simply so occurs to be a kind of groups.

After Rutgers’ 30-16 loss to Boston School, which misplaced 48-24 to Kansas (!) the earlier week, I acquired a transcript of Rutgers Coach Chris Ash’s post-game press convention.

Properly, make that former Rutgers Coach Chris Ash, as a result of he was relieved of his duties, together with Offensive Coordinator John McNulty, on Sunday.

I knew that Week Four Q&A session felt ominous and I saved it for a wet day, not eager to spend an excessive amount of thought on something regarding Rutgers soccer in 2019.

Right here’s an excerpt from the Ash’s press convention after Rutgers misplaced to Boston School, copied and pasted straight from the transcript I acquired.

Chris, you say it’s all on you. The place did you fail in the present day?

CHRIS ASH: We misplaced the sport. Didn’t play clear sufficient.

Q (Query).

CHRIS ASH: I didn’t put together the fellows properly sufficient.

Q (Query).

CHRIS ASH: Performed excellent.

Q (Query).

>> We’ll fear about that later. I’m simply frightened about in the present day.

Q Did you talk about the choice to punt fourth and ten late within the fourth quarter from the Boston School 40?

CHRIS ASH: Fourth and ten, it’s a lengthy scenario. Simply felt it was greatest to do.

Q (Query).

CHRIS ASH: Yeah. He’s high quality.

Q The fan base, appears to be exacerbated judging from the attendance.

CHRIS ASH: I’m simply making an attempt to work like heck to get our soccer crew to play higher solely Saturdays is about what my concern is.

Q I hoped to ask this later within the 12 months contemplating all the pieces. Are you frightened about your job standing going ahead?

CHRIS ASH: No. I’m frightened about our soccer crew.

I didn’t watch a video of the press convention and I didn’t must. I might hear the tone of the press convention by way of Ash’s 4 and five-word sentences.

Getting requested about your job safety in Week Four is actually by no means a great signal, both.

In hindsight, it’s no shock that Ash was fired after his 8-32 file on the faculty. Rutgers’ 10 losses in 2016 and 11 losses in 2018 had been probably the most nationally.

The Scarlet Knights have been the most important losers of the 12 Energy 5 faculties that modified conferences between 2011 and 2014.

We in all probability shouldn’t be stunned that Ash was fired and in case your faculty’s head coach’s press conferences begin sounding like Ash’s did in Week 4, that’s in all probability a pink flag about his future.


Reality or Fiction: Does Jalen Hurts ever get sacked?

At halftime of No. 6 Oklahoma’s 55-16 rout of Texas Tech, future USC Coach FOX analyst City Meyer was requested about Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts’ play within the first half and he stated, “He by no means will get sacked.”

After all Meyer didn’t imply that actually however it made me marvel, how usually has Hurts been sacked behind Oklahoma’s sturdy offensive line?

And has he been sacked any kind of regularly than he was at Alabama?

I got down to discover out on this week’s “Reality or Fiction?”

By way of Week 5, Hurts has tried 85 passes for Oklahoma and he’s been sacked simply 3 times.

All three sacks occurred after Oklahoma had constructed an enormous lead and two got here on clear passing downs when the Sooners wanted at the least 15 yards to select up a primary down:

  • third & 15 within the second quarter vs. South Dakota, 21-0
  • 1st & 10 within the second quarter at UCLA, 27-7
  • 2nd & 17 within the second quarter vs. Texas Tech, 31-10


Hurts’ mobility, inside the pocket and as a runner within the open area, which basically makes him a tailback when he leaves the pocket, is what makes him so arduous to sack (together with Oklahoma’s notoriously sturdy offensive line). That additionally makes it tough to trace simply what number of instances he has dropped again to go this season utilizing play-by-play knowledge.

However conservatively, we are able to calculate his sack share by including his go makes an attempt (85) and the variety of instances he’s been sacked (three).

That’s three sacks on 88 passing performs, or a 3.Four % sack price. Oklahoma is tied for fifth within the nation in sacks allowed, behind solely Air Power (1), Duke (1), Georgia (1) and New Mexico (2).

In actuality, that 3.Four % determine is even decrease if you happen to embody the variety of instances that Oklahoma Coach Lincoln Riley has known as a passing play, just for Hurts’ receivers to be lined, the opposing protection to drive him from the pocket or for Hurts to easily resolve he has open operating lanes in entrance of him.

Each time that Hurts has scrambled on a passing play was a possibility for him to get sacked, previous to the scramble, and he averted taking a sack due to his legs and his imaginative and prescient.

Simply watch Hurts really feel the stress from Texas Tech’s four-man rush on 2nd & 10 Saturday, solely to show a possible sack into the aforementioned 25-yard achieve.


Performs like which might be a part of the rationale why Oklahoma’s offense has been extra explosive below Hurts than it was below Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray by way of the identical variety of video games.

If Hurts and his O-line can sustain that price of avoiding sacks, Hurts can have lower his sack price by greater than half in comparison with his final season as Alabama’s beginning quarterback in 2017.

If we use the identical methodology (sack share = sacks/go makes an attempt + sacks), his sack price was 8.2 % in 2017 with him being sacked 23 instances and throwing the ball 255 instances.

That features being sacked 5 instances by Mississippi State, 4 instances by LSU and 3 times by Texas A&M.

Positive, the standard of opposing defenses performs a big position in how usually a quarterback is sacked. The very best-ranked Massive 12 protection this season when it comes to the SP+ rankings is TCU at No. 17.

There are three SEC defenses ranked larger than the Horned Frogs and Auburn checks in only one spot behind TCU at No. 18, so even when the entire “Nobody performs protection within the Massive 12” narrative is somewhat performed out, the numbers counsel the SEC produces extra dominant defenses on the prime of the convention than the Massive 12.

And admittedly, it’s not like Oklahoma’s first 4 video games have offered an excessive amount of of a problem defensively with Texas Tech (No. 36 protection, based on SP+), UCLA (No. 82 SP+ protection), Houston (No. 108 SP+ protection) and South Dakota (FCS).

However whatever the competitors, Hurts’ present tempo of being sacked lower than as soon as per recreation, on common, and roughly as soon as each 33 instances he intends to go actually backs up City Meyer’s assertion that in 2019, Jalen Hurts (nearly) by no means will get sacked.

Verdict: FACT


Beforehand on “Reality or Fiction?”:


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