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#pounditTuesday, September 21, 2021

Pat Fitzgerald accepts criticism over field goal decision

Pat Fitzgerald

Pat Fitzgerald believes the criticism of his decision to kick a field goal late against Ohio State is fair.

Northwestern played Ohio State tough on Saturday but ended up losing 24-20. The game was especially tight in the second half when the teams were tied at 17. But after that, Ohio State broke ahead with a touchdown that gave the ball back to Northwestern with 9:43 left in the game.

The Wildcats were able to drive down to the Buckeyes three-yard line before a run for a loss and holding penalty took them back to the 15. They then had a decision on 4th down from the 15 with around three and a half minutes left in the game. Rather than go for the touchdown to set them up for a tying extra-point or 2-point conversion to take the lead, Fitzgerald opted for a field goal. That made the score 24-20, Buckeyes.

Unfortunately for Northwestern, their defense was unable to stop Ohio State, which was able to secure enough first downs to run out the clock and win 24-20.

After the game, Fitzgerald said the criticism of his decision to kick a field goal rather than try for the touchdown was fair.

It was a tough call for Fitzgerald, and either way his team faced a tough task. Scoring from the 15 on a 4th-down play is not the same as having it inside the one or two-yard line where you can just call for a handoff and expect to gain the yard. On the other hand, kicking the field goal does very little for you, and you still need a touchdown anyhow if you are able to stop the Buckeyes and get the ball back. Maybe in hindsight, Fitzgerald would have just gone for the glory next time.

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