The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

October 20, 2013

Holgorsen: ‘Should have kicked it’ on fourth-and-14

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University coach Dana Holgorsen left himself open for second-guessers with a rather startling decision he made in the first quarter of Saturday’s 37-27 loss to No 15/16 Texas Tech.

First the situation.

It was the closing minute of the first quarter, Texas Tech leading 10-0.

WVU had driven to the Red Raiders 17, then two penalties – a 15-yard penalty and a 10-yard penalty – surrounded an incomplete pass, making it third-and-30 at the Texas Tech 42.

Holgorsen, ranting and raving on the sidelines about the penalties, called a running play to Charles Sims, who broke loose for 16 yards, making it fourth-and-14 at the 26.

Everyone expected the field goal unit with Josh Lambert, who made 30- and 33-yard field goals during the game, to come on, but Holgorsen opted to gamble and go for it.

Clint Trickett threw a long pass near the goal line that fell incomplete. Had the field goal been kicked, WVU would have been down 10-3.

Why?

Holgorsen answered honestly and admitted it was a mistake to bypass the field goal.

“We were moving the ball. At the time we were moving the ball but the penalties just kept backing us up,” he said. “It was about a 45-yard field goal. I should have kicked it.”

What was his thinking then?

“My thinking at that point was we were moving the ball and they had just taken it down and scored two times (a TD and field goal) in a row, so I figured touchdowns would be important. I should have kicked a field goal but it was fourth-and-2 or whatever it was and I felt good about going for it, but it was not the right decision.”

Fourth-and-2? Could Holgorsen have looked up and mistaken the down and distance?

No, said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson, who discussed the play with him. Dawson said they felt they needed a touchdown and were going for something that would get them at least 12 yards.

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