Scoring drives show coin toss may prove especially important for Louisville, Alabama
If history is any indication, it might be a good idea to be in your favorite chair, or on the couch, by the opening drive of Saturday’s Alabama-Louisville game.
That’s because the game could be decided by third down, or in the end zone, depending on who has the ball. The coin toss may be the most important moment of the night.
In a classic battle of offensive-minded Bobby Petrino against defensive-minded Nick Saban, the Louisville coach has shown a propensity to take the ball if his team wins the toss.
The Louisville Courier-Journal compiled data of Petrino’s history of coin toss decisions and outcomes. The newspaper found that his scripted first drive often sets the tone for the game. In the past four seasons at Louisville, his teams are 20-3 when they score on their first drive and 14-15 when they don’t. The newspaper also reported that in Petrino’s last eight seasons of coaching, he has won 52 coin tosses and taken the ball 48 times.
Last year, Louisville took the ball and scored first five times, and won four of those games.
Petrino also recalled breaking his trend in 2015 and electing to kick following the coin toss. He has not deferred the opening kickoff since.
“That was the worst feeling I’ve ever had,” he said. “Let’s never do that again.”