Nebraska made one important decision Saturday that had a huge impact on the Huskers 31-30 overtime victory. And few if any mentioned it.
Nebraska lost the coin toss for the overtime period but chose which direction the teams would go in the overtime period. The Huskers decided both teams would face a stiff wind. Nebraska had its signature running game going so the wind wouldn’t bother that. Iowa State was moving the ball through the air with the wind at its back.
And the wind did hinder the final play of the game.
Nebraska scored first in overtime and kicked the extra point. Iowa State countered with its own touchdown. Then the Cyclone lined up for the extra point kick and faked it. The pass was headed for a wide-open Ryan Franklin in the end zone, but the wind kept the ball in the air too long and the Huskers intercepted.
Iowa State lost the gamble and lost the game.
After the game, people questioned why Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads instructed his team to take a knee with 40 second left in regulation and three timeouts at the Iowa State 20-yard-line. However, people praised Rhoads’ choice in overtime.
I agreed with Rhoads’ strategy in overtime. I figure the game favorite always has the advantage in overtime. The underdog has already overachieved in regulation and the momentum usually swings back to the favorite. That’s why it makes no sense to trade scores with the favorite. Gambling is a good strategy.
Rhoads has gambled on different occasions in the past and it came out well. Unfortunately this time, Rhoads was on the wrong side.