Pat Fitzgerald accepts criticism over field goal decision
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.
Fitz says criticism he should have gone for TD on 4th and goal from 15 are fair. "You've got to write it," he tells us.
— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) October 29, 2016
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.