Still recovering from their 32-31 loss to the UCLA Bruins on Saturday, South Alabama’s Head Coach Kane Wommack, explained his decision to Mark Heim and Lee Shirvanian on The Opening Kickoff, going with a fake field goal instead of leaving the offense on the field for the 4th & 2 play.
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After last Saturday’s thrilling day for the Sun Belt, it appeared history may repeat itself, but South Alabama let one slip away against UCLA in the historic Rose Bowl. UCLA’s Nicholas Barr-Mira kicked a 24-YD field goal as time expired to give the Bruins a last second 32-31 win over the visiting South Alabama Jaguars.
South Alabama took a 17-6 to lead on a La’Damian Webb 9-yard run with 6:07 to go in the 1st Half, but UCLA stormed back. The Bruins scored 17 unanswered points, taking a 23-17 lead at the 4:46 mark of the 3rd quarter.
That’s when South Alabama took control of the game. Carter Bradley led the Jaguars on a 8-play 65-yard drive, finishing with a Marco Lee 1-YD touchdown run and South Alabama reclaimed a 24-23 lead. They extended the lead after Dorian Thompson-Robinson fumbled on UCLA’s next play from scrimmage and the Jags scored two plays later when Bradley hits Caullin Lacy with a four-yard pass, extending the Jags lead to 31-23.
UCLA came back to start the 4th quarter with an 8-yard touchdown pass, on 4th and 4, from Thompson-Robinson to Logan Loya. DTR came up short on the 2-point conversion attempt.
After a couple of defensive stops, South Alabama took over at their own 10 with 9:08 to go. They converted a couple of 3rd downs, and received some assistance from the Bruins with a late hit and defensive pass interference penalties.
South Alabama had the ball, up 2, with just over 4:30 remaining in the game. The Jags came up short on 3rd down, forcing a 4th & 2 from the UCLA 22. A field goal attempt would’ve been about 39 yards, well within Diego Guajardo’s range. However, it still would’ve just been a 5-point game with almost 3:00 to go in the game. That’s when Jaguars Head Coach Kane Wommack made an odd decision.
Instead of going for it, or kicking it, South Alabama tired a fake FG with holder/back up QB Tanner McGee, who sacked for a loss.
All of that led to the Barr-Mira game-winning kick.
Bradley was 26-36 with a touchdown and interception. On the ground, Webb led the Jags with 124 yards and touchdown on just 16 carries. He also had 6 catches for 42 yards.
South Alabama drops to 2-1 and hosts Louisiana Tech next Saturday at 6PM at Hancock Whitney Stadium.