In one of the biggest plays of the season, BYU elected to pass on a 3rd down and 2.
BYU Football was two yards away from sealing a Hawaii Bowl win late in the fourth quarter when the Cougars elected to call a rollout pass play that fell incomplete and stopped the clock, ultimately leading to a punt.
We can argue all day about whether or not that was the worst play call of the season, but honestly, it wasn't that bad. The call was really a win/lose/win/lose situation for Jeff Grimes in making that play call. Let's take a look at every possibility of what could have happened on that play.
Possibility 1: Cougars Throw, Fail to Convert
Of course, this is what happened. By not converting, the clock was stopped and Hawaii was given more than enough time to put together the game winning drive. By not converting, fans are left scratching their heads wondering why they didn't run the ball. After all, the Cougars were averaging 5.8 yards per run, including 9.8 with Tyler Allgeier.
Possibility 2: Cougars Throw, Convert the First Down
Remember early in the season when the Cougars were really struggling to pick up third and short plays? If not, let me remind you. In the first five games of the season, the Cougars converted only 7 for 20 on third downs when running the ball. This play call would have been called brilliant and fans would have pointed out the fact that Grimes and the rest of the offensive staff had learned from earlier in the season and adjusted.
Possibility 3: Cougars Run, Fail to Convert
This is exactly what was just being talked about. Again, early in the season, one of the biggest complaints about the BYU Football team was that they were continually shut down on third down when running the ball. There was a point between the USC and Washington games where the Cougars were 1 for 6 on converting on third down when running the ball. If BYU fails to pick up the first down, then fans would be complaining that the coaching staff learned nothing from earlier in the season and it would have been smart for them to try to convert the play through the air.
Possibility 4: Cougars Run, Convert the First Down
Had this happened, there probably wouldn't have been too much discussion as to whether it was a great play call or not, it would have just been part of BYU putting away the Rainbow Warriors late in the game.
Regardless of the play call, the coaching staff would have been celebrated or ridiculed based off of the result of the play. Personally, I would have liked to see the scrum package brought in for third and two and then see how that works. With the Cougar front being so much larger than Hawaii's defensive front, I find it very unlikely that two yards would not have been picked up.
The play call was what it was though, and it didn't work in the Cougars favor. It wasn't as bad as everyone is making it out to be.