Hindsight's 20/20: Kicking the Field Goal on 4th and 2

This has been a huge topic of discussion lately, as it was one of the very many strange coaching decisions that determined the outcome of the game.

The situation, for those who don't remember, is this: 4th and 2, ball on the MTSU 25, 1:35 on the clock, Terps up by 2. There were two options at this point: trot out Nick Ferrara, a true freshman kicker who had just squeaked a kick of the exact same distance past the crossbar by about a yard and had a kick blocked earlier, to attempt a long, pressure-packed FG, or try to convert the long 2 yards, risking not getting it and keeping the lead less than 3 points.

There are pros and cons to both choices. If Ferrara goes out to attempt the field goal, the biggest plus is that, if he makes it, the lead is increases to 5, meaning MTSU would need a TD to win.

The negative would be that Ferrara had a FG blocked earlier, made a FG from the same distance just minutes earlier by about ten inches, and would be faced with making a big, pressure-filled kick; while he made the JMU FG earlier, that was little more than extra point and barely slid inside the left upright. If it's a miss - and honestly, that seemed likely - MTSU only needs a FG to win. Even if it's made, MTSU is still a TD away from a win, and would have at least 1:10 left with the ball in about the same spot.

As for going for it, the positive is that the game is not in the hands (er...feet) of a true freshman kicker. If they don't get it, then MTSU needs a FG with about 1:30 left...also known as exactly what happened anyway. Not getting might've been a probability - Davin Meggett hadn't been having his best day, and the offensive line is less than impressive - so I understand the concern. That said, if they convert, the game is 100%, stick-a-fork-in-it over. Meggett was averaging 2.8 yards per carry, so it's not inconceivable that he could've gotten it. He actually had been looking his best on that drive, as had the offensive line.

In short, it comes down to who you trust more: the freshman kicker or the inexperienced offensive line. At the time, I was undecided. I wanted to think Ferrara could nail the kick, but he hadn't been looking good up to that point. I also realized that, even if he makes it, the game isn't over anyway. But I didn't feel too much resistance to Friedgen's decision at the time; it's a tough decision to make without a lot of time to do it. In hindsight, having had several hours to think it over, it was probably the wrong decision.

What say you?

(P.S. - I realize it was MTSU. This game never should've come down to a decision on whether to kick it or go for it on 4th and 2. But I'm going to talk about it anyway.)

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