Tom Herman’s decision to not kick FG costs Texas in loss to Iowa State
Texas head coach Tom Herman made a questionable decision to not take an easy field goal late in his team’s game against Iowa State on Friday, and it proved to be costly.
The Longhorns were leading 20-16 midway through the fourth quarter when their drive stalled at the Iowa State 13-yard line. Rather than kicking a field goal to give his team a 23-16 lead, Herman opted to go for it on 4th-and-2. Texas was stuffed and turned the ball over on downs.
Herman’s call initially didn’t appear to hurt Texas, as their defense forced a punt on the ensuing drive. However, Texas then went three-and-out and punted it back to Iowa State. The Cyclones scored a touchdown on that drive to take a 23-20 lead with just 1:44 remaining in the game.
That 1:44 wasn’t enough time for Texas to secure a game-winning field goal. They moved the ball down the field, but quarterback Sam Ehlinger took a bad sack near midfield and turned a reasonable field goal attempt into a 57-yarder, which sailed wide left.
Had Herman taken the three points earlier in the fourth quarter, the worst-case scenario for Texas likely would have been overtime. Going for it on 4th-and-2 doesn’t sound crazy, but the Longhorns would have been in better shape if they took a 23-16 lead at that stage in the game.
Texas had a chance to stay alive for the Big 12 Championship Game with a win, so the loss to No. 13 Iowa State was particularly painful.
All eyes will be on Herman now down the stretch. Texas is 5-3 on the season and 30-18 under Herman overall. The coach has drawn criticism from Texas alumni and fans this year. It would not be a shock if he is fired before the end of the season.