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Archive for Monday, October 2, 2006

Wood: KU right not to go for two

October 2, 2006

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Jason Anderson was in the minority - and he couldn't believe it.

The co-host of a Sunday morning radio show on WHB in Kansas City, Anderson said the bulk of Sunday's airtime was devoted to a nasty debate about the end of Kansas University's 39-32 overtime football loss to Nebraska on Saturday.

Should Kansas, after scoring a touchdown with 46 seconds left in regulation Saturday, have gone for two and the 33-32 victory?

KU didn't, of course, and elected to get the all-but-certain Scott Webb point-after to send the game to overtime. Nebraska eventually won when KU couldn't score in the extra period.

Anderson said 16 calls were taken on his show, and 12 believed Mangino should have gone for it, some citing the fact that the Jayhawks were 22-point underdogs, at a stadium in which they hadn't won since 1968.

To which I say - so?

This wasn't about 1968 or what oddsmakers and bettors thought about KU's chances. There were just too many reasons why going for two would have been the most ill-advised call of the year. Consider:

1. Kansas was the better team in the second half, and it wasn't close. After a horrendous first quarter that gave Nebraska a 17-0 lead, Kansas clawed back in the second quarter and took over in the third. The Jayhawks outscored the Huskers 22-8 in the second half. Why risk it when you have the upper hand?

2. Kansas would've had one do-or-die play at the Nebraska three-yard line for the victory. Throughout the game, Kansas had seven plays inside the Nebraska five-yard line - a circumstance similar to what would've occurred if KU had gone for two.

Here's what happened:

¢ Jon Cornish run for no gain.

¢ Brandon McAnderson run for a one-yard touchdown (barely getting in).

¢ Cornish run for one-yard loss.

¢ Adam Barmann fumble while running up the middle.

¢ Cornish run for one-yard gain.

¢ McAnderson run for no gain.

¢ Barmann pass to Derek Fine for one-yard touchdown.

Goal-line situations weren't exactly KU's strong suit Saturday. Add to it that last year in Division I-A, two-point conversions were successful just 46 percent of the time, and you've got an easy choice to make.

3. Streaks don't matter. Oddsmakers don't matter.

4. Kansas tried a two-point conversion earlier in the fourth quarter, and Nebraska stuffed it with great coverage and a great pass rush.

5. A minor detail, but the layout of Nebraska's Memorial Stadium makes goal-line situations hell for the opposing team. A majority of seats there are behind the end zones.

Considering the enormous stakes of going for two, it would've been deafening for KU's offense - and all the more difficult.

Mangino was asked Saturday if he considered going for two, and he bluntly said no.

He's right.

No matter what happened in overtime, playing with fire at the end of regulation is a bad, bad idea.

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