Pat Narduzzi Doubles Down On Field Goal Attempt From One-Yard Line
Pitt football head coach Pat Narduzzi once again defended his decision to kick a field goal when his team had the ball on Penn State’s one-yard line in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game, which ended in a 17-10 victory for the Nittany Lions.
“I have no regrets with the [field goal] call at all. I really don’t,” Narduzzi said at his weekly press conference on Monday. “My regret is that we didn’t score on one of those three plays. We can debate it for the next 10 years because we probably won’t play them for the next 10 years.”
The Panthers were trailing by a touchdown when they marched down the field late in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s contest. Wide receiver Taysir Mack made a circus catch down the sideline to put his team just one yard away from tying the game, but Penn State’s defense made a crucial stand and kept Pitt out of the end zone for three downs.
With less than five minutes on the clock, Narduzzi elected to trot out his field goal team instead of trying to punch the ball into the end zone one more time. This decision was initially head-scratching at best, but it turned into a disastrous choice once Alex Kessman put his right boot through the ball.
Kessman tried to power the ball through the uprights, but he ended up blasting it off the left goalpost instead. Penn State took over at the 20-yard line and wasted all but two minutes of the game clock, and Pitt — which only had one timeout to work with — couldn’t engineer a successful two-minute drill and lost the game.
In his postgame press conference, Narduzzi shared his thinking behind the decision. He expressed his trust in his team’s defense (to be fair, the Panthers did get the ball back with less than two minutes to play), and he also noted that Pitt needed two scores to win the game while apparently forgetting that, you know, two-point conversions exist.
Believe it or not, this wasn’t the first time a Pitt head coach made a mind-bogglingly bad decision to kick a field goal on Penn State’s one-yard line. In 1982, first-year head coach Foge Fazio elected to kick a field goal with his Panthers trailing 16-7 in the fourth quarter.
There are a few differences between that decision and Narduzzi’s. First of all, Pitt actually needed two scores to win that game, and the 1982 chip shot split the uprights. Penn State immediately responded with a field goal of its own en route to a 19-10 victory.
That win was the Nittany Lions’ final regular-season hurdle en route to the 1982 national championship game. Joe Paterno’s team secured the first national title in program history with a 27-23 triumph over Georgia.
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