FanPost

Go Four It: 4th Down Analysis of UB's First Three Games

This is the first of a four (or more, if the season allows) part series where I'll deep dive each of the fourth down calls from the previous games.

One of my biggest pet peeves as a fan is a general lack of aggressiveness in football decisions made by coaches. Things like punting from your opponent's 40 yard line, not going for a two point conversion after a touchdown as often as one should - which is more often than you would think, and making bad fourth down decisions. Of course, I am looking at these decisions in hindsight and without my career on the line, or possibly worse - angry fans DMing me after a loss. However I will attempt to take a look at these decisions as objectively as possible and attempting to not judge the decision by the outcome (outcome bias).

I will look at Mo's decision, what I would have done, and the NY Times Fourth Down Bot (which is designed for an average NFL team).

Buffalo vs Wagner

Play-by-play data is messed up for this game, but given the opponent it will not matter.

1st Quarter: UB 14 - WAG 0. 4th and 1 at the WAGNER 20

Mo: Go For It

rma116: Go For It

NYT: Go For It

Result: Marks,Kevin rush for 2 yards gain to the WAG18, 1ST DOWN.

2nd Quarter: UB 28 - WAG 0. 4th and 6 at the WAGNER 17

Mo: Kick

rma116: Kick

NYT: Kick

Result: McNulty,Alex field goal attempt from 35 yards GOOD

3rd Quarter: UB 52 - WAG 0. 4th and 2 at the WAGNER 2

Mo: Go For It

rma116: Go For It

NYT: Go For It

Result: McDuffie,Dylan rush for 2 yards gain to the WAG00 TOUCHDOWN

4th Quarter: UB 59 - WAG 0. 4th and 5 at the WAGNER 15

Mo: Kick

rma116: Kick (though I would have loved to run up the score)

NYT: Kick

Result: Baltar,Jackson field goal attempt from 33 yards GOOD

Overall, nothing controversial. Zero punts for UB on the day.

Buffalo vs Nebraska

1st Quarter (9:18): UB 0 - UNL 0. 4th and 7 at the NEBRASKA 37

This play ended up being a 4th and 12 at the 42 due to a false start.

Mo: Go For It (Punt after Penalty)

rma116: Go For It (Punt after Penalty)

NYT: Go For It (Kick after Penalty)

Result: PENALTY BUF False Start (Schaerer,Alain) 5 yards from NEB37 to NEB42. NO PLAY. Finegan,Evan punt 42 yards to the NEB00, Touchback.

1st Quarter (2:51): UB 0 - UNL 0. 4th and 7 at the BUFFALO 23

Mo: Punt

rma116: Punt

NYT: Punt

Result: Finegan,Evan punt 35 yards to the NEB42 fair catch by Taylor-Britt,Cam at NEB42

2nd Quarter (8:47): UB 0 - UNL 0. 4th and 5 at the BUFFALO 46

Mo: Punt

rma116: Punt

NYT: Punt

Result: Finegan,Evan punt 54 yards to the NEB00, Touchback.

2nd Quarter (4:36): UB 0 - UNL 7. 4th and 3 at the BUFFALO 44

Mo: Go For It

rma116: Go For It

NYT: Go For It

Result: Vantrease,Kyle pass complete to Cook,Ron for 2 yards to the BUF46 TURNOVER ON DOWNS

2nd Quarter (1:41): UB 0 - UNL 7. 4th and 5 at the BUFFALO 19

Mo: Punt

rma116: Punt

NYT: Punt

Result: Vantrease,Kyle punt 81 yards to the NEB00, Touchback

3rd Quarter (9:22): UB 0 - UNL 14. 4th and 13 at the NEBRASKA 27

Mo: Kick

rma116: Kick

NYT: Kick

Result: McNulty,Alex field goal attempt from 45 yards GOOD

3rd Quarter (4:22): UB 3 - UNL 14. 4th and 4 at the BUFFALO 49

Mo: Punt

rma116: Punt

NYT: Go For It

Result: Finegan,Evan punt 40 yards to the NEB11 fair catch by Toure,Samori at NEB11

4th Quarter (11:08): UB 3 - UNL 21 4th and 2 at the NEBRASKA 34

Mo: Go For It

rma116: Go For It

NYT: Go For It

Result: Vantrease,Kyle pass incomplete to Ruiz,Jovany QB hurried by Domann,JoJo

4th Quarter (7:13): UB 3 - UNL 21 4th and 5 at the BUFFALO 23

Mo: Punt

rma116: Punt

NYT: Punt

Result: Finegan,Evan punt 35 yards to the NEB42 Nebraska return for 3 yards loss to the NEB39 fumbled by Nebraska at NEB39 recovered by BUF Washington,Aapri at NEB39

4th Quarter (6:09): UB 3 - UNL 21 4th and 3 at the NEBRASKA 32

Mo: Kick

rma116: Go For It

NYT: Go For It

Result: McNulty,Alex field goal attempt from 50 yards NO GOOD

4th Quarter (2:50): UB 3 - UNL 28 4th and 10 at the NEBRASKA 19

This play ended up being a 4th and 15 at the 24 due to an encroachment penalty

Mo: Go For It (Kick after Penalty)

rma116: Go For It (Go For It after Penalty)

NYT: Kick (Kick after Penalty)

Result: McNulty,Alex field goal attempt from 42 yards NO GOOD

Some deviation here. My aggressiveness at the end takes into account the score and disregards players' feelings, moral victories, and such. If UB was getting shutout, I might have said kick for the final fourth down since I hate getting shutout.

Buffalo vs Coastal Carolina

1st Quarter (13:25): UB 0 - CCU 0. 4th and 9 at the BUFFALO 24

Mo: Punt

rma116: Punt

NYT: Punt

Result: Finegan,Evan punt 36 yards to the CCU40 Strong,D'Jordan return 0 yards to the PENALTY BUF Illegal Formation 5 yards from CCU40 to CCU45

2nd Quarter (10:12): UB 14 - CCU 14. 4th and 4 at the COASTAL 33

Mo: Kick

rma116: Go For It

NYT: Go For It

Result: McNulty,Alex field goal attempt from 51 yards NO GOOD

2nd Quarter (1:09): UB 14 - CCU 14. 4th and 6 at the COASTAL 44

Mo: Punt

rma116: Punt

NYT: Go For It

Result: Finegan,Evan punt 35 yards to the CCU09 fair catch by Heiligh,Jaivon at CCU09

3rd Quarter (6:12): UB 14 - CCU 21. 4th and 3 at the COASTAL 18

Mo: Kick

rma116: Kick

NYT: Kick

Result: McNulty,Alex field goal attempt from 36 yards GOOD

3rd Quarter (3:29): UB 17 - CCU 21. 4th and 11 at the BUFFALO 26

Mo: Punt

rma116: Punt

NYT: Punt

Result: Vantrease,Kyle punt 49 yards to the CCU25 Spillum,Alex return 50 yards to the BUF25 (Fuzak,Jake)

4th Quarter (11:49): UB 17 - CCU 28. 4th and 10 at the BUFFALO 39

Mo: Punt

rma116: Punt

NYT: Punt

Result: Finegan,Evan punt 34 yards to the CCU27 fair catch by Heiligh,Jaivon at CCU27

4th Quarter (4:55): UB 17 - CCU 28. 4th and 1 at the COASTAL 36

Mo: Go For It

rma116: Go For It

NYT: Go For It

Result: Molinich,Jake rush for 2 yards gain to the CCU34 (Killen,JT), 1ST DOWN

The decision to kick a 51 yard field goal in the second quarter could have proven to be exactly what was needed to push the game into overtime, but for me (and for the NFL-kicker model) 51 yards is too far for a college kicker. The NYT model does not even recommend kicking for another 5 yards (a 46 yard field goal attempt). Not shown on here is the decision to not onside kick after the final UB touchdown. I would have elected to onside kick, since given the time situation the defense would have needed a quick stop either way. It is possible with the way Coastal was moving the ball in the final drive, that they would have scored another touchdown. I do not know how good the special teams is on onside recoveries, but given that the Buffalo defense only had one three and out all day, I would have risked it.

Three Game Total:

rma116 agrees with Mo on 21 of 24 (88%) of fourth down decisions.

The NYT Bot agrees with Mo on 18 of 24 (75%) of fourth down decisions.

Where was I right? Where was I wrong? Call me an idiot armchair coach in the comments.