That was a tough one.
The Cards tied the game late and survived a missed field goal as time expired to get to overtime. Then things got crazy. I’ll have a more complete recap tomorrow, but let’s address the thing everybody will be talking about for a while: Charlie Strong’s decision to go for a first down inside the five yard line in overtime, rather than kick a field goal.
The Cards got the ball first and marched down inside the ten. After getting stopped short on third down, according to the line judge, Strong decided to try to get the first down instead of kicking a field goal to go up 3 points. It didn’t work, South Florida got the ball and kicked a game-winning field goal.
Personally, I have no problem at all with the decision.
Yes, it’s a chip shot field goal, but they only had to move the ball no more than a foot. If your team cannot advance the football that far with the game on the line, they don’t deserve to win. Also, the way the UofL defense was playing, South Florida was going to have a hard time getting into the endzone.
I understand the argument because of how well the defense was playing, you take the points and force them to tie the game. I get that, but I would counter by saying if you kick the field goal, you kind of let USF off the hook. They would be able to not move the ball very far and still have a chance to extend the game.
Bottom line, I would much rather have South Florida have to get into the endzone, which they struggled with outside of one long run and one long pass. If you allow them to settle for a field goal and keep playing, you are helping them out.
It definitely hurts, but at the end of the day, the problem was not the decision, it was the execution.