Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith. Oregon State Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith looks toward the scoreboard as he watches the game against the UCLA Bruins during the second half of the game on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023 at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore.

On Saturday, the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers fell 27-24 on the road to the unranked Arizona Wildcats. One notable part of that came at the end of the first half, where Oregon State opted for a fake field goal from 34 yards out with two seconds left and had kicker Atticus Sappington stopped at the seven-yard line on a run, meaning they went into the half tied 10-10 rather than up 13-10. That decision took a lot of criticism, including from analyst Rod Gilmore on the broadcast:

Gilmore was far from alone there, with many fans and media also blasting the Beavers’ decision on Twitter. And that decision looked worse still when Oregon State eventually fell by three points, scoring a touchdown to get within that margin with 1:38 left but proving unable to recover the subsequent onside kick. And after the game, Beavers’ head coach Jonathan Smith admitted the fake FG was a mistake in that situation:

However, quarterback DJ Uiagalelei defended the call:

The thing is, the playcall here would have worked great if not for the clock situation. Sappington picked up plenty of yardage, and that would normally have led to a new set of downs. But the amount of time left meant the Wildcats only had to keep Sappington out of the end zone, and they were able to do that.

This is far from the first controversial clock management decision we’ve seen in football. And it surely won’t be the last. But it’s interesting to see Smith admit that this was a mistake.

[Brenna Greene on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.