KELLY: One-yard line play calling, UA style - Tucson News Now

KELLY: One-yard line play calling, UA style

The Wildcats Jared Baker scores on a one-yard run against USC (Photo courtesy: Arizona Athletics) The Wildcats Jared Baker scores on a one-yard run against USC (Photo courtesy: Arizona Athletics)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Just for kicks-and-giggles and in light of what happened with the strange play-calling at the end of the Super Bowl, I decided to look up what the Arizona Wildcats football team did this past season in instances when they had the ball at their opponents' one-yard line.

Obviously all decisions are different depending on game situations but I believe philosophy is philosophy for the most part no matter what the time is in the game.

UA had the ball at their opponents' one-yard line on 11 different occasions this past season. They threw the ball just once.

That one time came in a 38-20 home win over Colorado on November 8. And what's unique to that one time is that it came in the second quarter AFTER the Wildcats had failed on three previous tries from the one-yard line earlier in this particular game.

On Arizona's opening possession they drove to the Buffaloes red zone where after a Terris Jones-Grigsby run UA had a 2nd and goal at the Colorado one-yard line.

Jones-Grigsby failed to convert on second down and that was followed by an Anu Solomon run that lost a yard.

Rich Rodriguez chose to go for it from the two-yard line on fourth down and the Buffaloes promptly stuffed Jones-Grigsby to take over the ball on downs.

Later in second quarter the Cats offense reached the Colorado one-yard line again. This time Solomon fumbled on a first-down run for no gain and on the next play Rodriguez called for a quick out pass which Solomon completed to David Richards for a touchdown.

That was the lone pass play the Wildcats attempted in 2014 from the one-yard line.

But maybe even the more interesting number is what happened on those ten times the Wildcats ran the ball from the one. They scored only five times on those specific plays.

In the end the initial Colorado situation was the only one where Arizona reached an opponents' one-yard line and didn't get a touchdown. But there were three instances on the season, including the series when UA threw the ball, where they needed multiple plays to score after reaching the one-yard line.

In games against Washington and Boise State the Wildcats need two plays to punch it in after reaching their opponents doorstep.

Arizona didn't really have anything quite like the Seahawks situation as far as their time of game, but their first two one-yard line plays of the 2014 season both came late in the 4th quarter of tight games.

Wilson scored the winning touchdown in the upset of Oregon on a 3rd and goal one-yard run with just under three minutes to play in the game.

The next week in the home loss to USC, Jared Baker scored on a 1st and goal run from the one with 1:07 to play to bring the Cats back to within the two points they would eventually lose by when Casey Skowron shanked the game-winning field goal attempt.

I clearly get Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's rationalization that if Seattle need to use all three downs that they were going to have throw the ball on one of those three downs due to the fact they had just one time out.

But throwing a risky inside slant? I don't think so. Even the one pass play the Wildcats attempted was a throw toward the sideline that only Richards could have made a play on.

And as far as Carroll's inference that Seattle needed to waste a play. That's fine but he should have given Russell Wilson the same advice former Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano once told Brian Sipe before he threw the infamous interception known as “Red Right 88” that cost the Browns their 1980 Divisional Playoff Game against the Raiders.

As recited in the book Kardiac Kids: The Story of the 1980 Cleveland Browns, before Sipe headed back onto the field for that fateful play, Rutigliano said to his quarterback, “ If the defense looks like Times Square on New Year's Eve, throw the ball into some blonde's lap in the bleachers, but don't throw it in the middle of the field.”

The game of football never ceases to amaze.

Final results:

* 11 one-yard line possessions

* 10 touchdowns on 11 one-yard line possessions

* 10 one-yard line runs (91%)

* 1 one-yard line pass

* 5 touchdowns on 10 runs

* 1 touchdown on 1 pass

* 10 runs (4-1st down, 2-2nd down, 4-3rd down)

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