Arizona beat Cal on Saturday in Berkeley, 45-44. It was an excellent game, and it came down to gutsy Bears decision that didn’t pan out: Going for two in overtime.
Down one, the Bears decided to end the game right there. It didn’t work:
In the second overtime, Arizona scored a touchdown on the opening possession. The Wildcats kicked the extra point, which is what teams usually do in that situation. If you went for two and missed, you’d be awfully vulnerable on the counter-possession, because a simple TD and PAT would end you. Rich Rodriguez’s call was understandable, and in light of Cal’s two-pointer not working out, it was even game-winning.
But we’re not here for that. Oh, no. We’re here for Cal head coach Justin Wilcox calling for the two-pointer after the Bears scored their own touchdown on the next series. I’m a member of Team Always Go For 2, because do-or-die two-pointers are a lot of fun. This one didn’t work out, just like Utah’s two-pointer at the end of regulation at USC last week didn’t work out. But I respect the vision and the confidence.
The two-point conversion in college comes from the 3-yard line. Cal was averaging 5 yards per play, but Arizona had mostly outplayed Wilcox’s team. The chances of a team like Cal converting that are close-ish to 50 percent, while the chances UC would have beaten a superior-playing opponent in another overtime don’t seem that high.
Had the game gone to three overtimes, both teams would’ve been obligated to try a two-pointer after any touchdowns. Wilcox’s decision ensured that didn’t come up.