When Iowa attempted a 38-yard field goal with 5:25 remaining in Saturday's game against Wisconsin, down 14-6, there were grumbles and puzzled looks around Kinnick Stadium.
Why not go for it on fourth-and-5 from the Wisconsin 20? Especially in such a low-scoring game.
The Hawkeyes missed the field goal, but there was still a lot of time left, so the decision didn't seem totally outrageous.
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But it became outrageous when Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz answered a question about the decision in the postgame press conference.
This, directly from the Iowa athletic department, which sent out a transcript following the game:
Q. This will sound like second-guessing. It's 14-6, you go for the field goal. You're still going to need a touchdown. What was the thought process there?
FERENTZ: You have to score twice. It gets down to that. Somehow, some way you're going to have to score twice. If there's a little bit less, fourth-and-two, something like that, we probably would have gone for the touchdown.
Q. 14-6, if you get the touchdown and the two-point conversion, you have a tied ballgame.
FERENTZ: The situation we were in, we felt that was the best play. Fourth-and-five against these guys is not easy, especially down there in the red zone. We didn't see that as a high-probability play. We're going to have to get back there again. Kind of the thinking there.
You can listen to him say it here:
This was absolutely on the record.
Yes, he said they'd have to score twice — down eight.
Then, when told that's wrong, he said that kicking the field goal was “the best play” because moving the ball is hard on those guys. “We're going to have to get back there again,” he said, undermining his entire point.
This is an astounding answer to a fair question – which was clarified, so no one can complain Ferentz didn't understand the scope.
With game management skills like that, it's a good thing that Iowa didn't sign the 61-year-old coach to a decade-long contract extension that pays him $4.25 million and has one of the most over-the-top buyouts in all of college football.