Will Muschamp explains decision to kick late FG against Tennessee
With just over three minutes to play in South Carolina’s season-opener against Tennessee, head coach Will Muschamp had a decision to make.
The Gamecocks were down 31-24 and had the ball just inside the Tennessee 30-yard line on fourth and 12. When thinking about whether his team should go for it and try to tie it up, or kick a field goal to cut the lead to four, Muschamp went with the latter.
Muschamp faced plenty of criticism for the decision and explained in on Tuesday during his media availability.
“You got over three minutes left,” said Muschamp. “You got fourth-and-12. If it’s fourth-and-7, we’re going for it. If we don’t have three timeouts, we’re probably going forward at fourth-and-12.
“But you have three timeouts and I’ve got great confidence that when we get the ball back, we’re getting the ball back to go win the game. We’re not trying to tie the game. We’re gonna go win the game.”
Muschamp’s team nearly gave itself a chance to prove him right. With under 90 seconds to play, Tennessee punted it back to the Gamecocks, but the ball deflected off a South Carolina specialist’s leg and freshman Jimmy Holiday pounced on it to win back possession for the Vols, and end the game.
After a 4-8 campaign in 2019, Muschamp was already under pressure going into 2020.
The season-opening loss to Tennessee and decision-making at the end certainly didn’t help.