Dana Holgorsen tries to freeze the kicker and it backfires
Sometimes coaches get too cute and try to do things that they don’t have to. In Holgorsen’s case, he did that twice in the span of about five real-time minutes, and in both instances, it backfired on him.
The first call he made was to spend his team’s final timeout to try to ice Tech kicker Trey Wolff on the game-tying kick at the end of regulation. That would prove to be costly because on the kick just after the timeout was called, Wolff pushed the ball wide right.
However, he got a second chance after having what essentially proved to be a practice kick and he would make the most of that opportunity. As we all know, his second kick was true and it knotted the game at 20-20. Had Holgorsen simply let the game play out, his team would have won in regulation.
Because the game went to overtime, though, Holgorsen had to make another strategic decision and again, he went with his gut, which would prove to be the wrong move.
Houston would win the overtime coin flip giving them the choice of taking the ball first or playing defense first. Conventional wisdom in overtime says that you always play defense first so that you know exactly what you have to do when you get the ball in OT.
However, Holgorsen is anything but conventional. He actually decided to take the football first, just as he had done in the previous week when his team was in overtime against UTSA. After that game, he said that his analytics team told him that taking the ball was the better play according to their percentages.
Analytics be damned. It was a stupid move because it meant that in both OTs, Tech knew what it needed to do (Tech got the choice to start the second OT and decided to play defense first). And because of our final hidden moment, the Red Raiders would need only three points in the second OT.