Bowden Defends Fake Field Goal
Cole Chason
Cole Chason

Posted Oct 1, 2005

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Following his team’s embarrassing loss to Wake Forest, Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said his decision to go for a fake field goal late in the game didn’t cost his team the win. In reality, it most likely did.

There are several ways to look at the end results.

Playing devil’s advocate, pretend Jad Dean had made that 44-yard field goal to put the Tigers up 30-24 with 2:31 left to play.

The Tigers would have then kicked off to a Wake Forest team that had scored only three points since the 12:18 mark of the second quarter. Dean had kicked all six of his previous kickoffs for touchbacks, so it’s safe to assume he would have done it again, thus giving the Deacs the ball at their own 20.

As it happened, Wake Forest got it at the 34 yard line with tons of momentum. That extra 14 yards is a lot when there’s only seconds remaining on the clock.

But for argument’s sake, say the Deacs scored a touchdown anyway to take a one-point lead at 31-30, all Clemson would need to win is a field goal. And with Dean as the kicker, getting the ball to the Wake Forest 40 puts it in his range.

Instead, the Tigers had to go 80 yards in 33 seconds. They got to the 3 before time ran out.

Dean and holder Cole Chason each have the option to change the play if they feel as though it won’t work. Both thought it would, but even so, the botched play can’t be put on their shoulders.

“In hindsight, we maybe should have called timeout,” Dean said. “But from where we were, it looked like it was there. It looked like what we’d been seeing on film and decided to stay with it.”

What is also troubling if you’re a Clemson fan is that Bowden basically said he had no trust and faith that his defense could stop the Deacs.

“I anticipated needing points, not a field goal,” Bowden said.

As it turned out, Bowden needed the points. It just so happens to didn’t take them when given the opportunity. And for that, Clemson Nation is already roaring.

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