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Iowa lost because of clock management mistake in Penn State game

Posted by John T. Reed on

Email from a reader:
Mr. Reed,

I doubt I've ever emailed you, but I've long read and appreciated your work on youth football and clock management.

With 1:55 to go, Iowa (down 15-13) had 1st and 10 at the Penn State 35. Running back Akrum Wadley burst into the clear and scored.

He should've slid down inside the 5, forcing Penn State to burn their two remaining timeouts and kicking a chip-shot field goal with about :40 left.

Instead, Penn State took over with 1:42 to go. They scored the winning touchdown with the clock at 0:04, on 4th and goal from the 7. It wasn't until :24 that they even reached field goal range.

(James Franklin and co. did a great job - not only did Penn State never spike the ball, on the road against a hostile crowd, but they saved one timeout and used it to discuss the game-winning play.)
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The reader’s analysis is correct. That is what my book Football Clock Management calls a pace graph situation. The pace graph is designed to prevent you from scoring too fast. There is one for when you need a TD and one for when you need a field goal. I learned this best practice from Coach Lindy Infante. It was executed correctly by Maurice Jones-Drew in the NFL in 2009 when he was on the Jaguars. I take credit for that because my book came out in 1997 and no one did it before then. My book made it standard practice. Iowa screwed up.


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