RYAN: Let's start with Dumb Thing One -- Minnesota gets the ball to the Michigan 1 yard line with 19 seconds on the clock, a time out left, and a temporary stoppage while the referees review the previous play. Minnesota does not use the time out, or spike it, or call a play that snaps the ball quickly instead of having a bunch of dumb shifting. How dumb is this?
JANE: It's so dumb. I've never said, "what are you doing" about an opponent in that scenario before, but my god, Minnesota, what were you doing? 19 seconds is an eternity. 19 seconds is a thousand years. But Minnesota spent roughly 10 seconds moving into the shotgun so that Mitch Leidner could throw across his body to no one. That leads us to Dumb Thing 2: moving into the shotgun. Moving into the shotgun on the half-yard line with 19 seconds to go is like preparing filet mignon for a tailgate at a Browns game: you are trying way, way, way too hard. Just get some chips and dip and run the goddang ball.
RYAN: Alternatively, if you want to throw it, throw it quickly. The whole advantage of calling a pass play here is that, if nothing's there, you can toss it out of the back of the end zone and still have a good 13 seconds of clock to work with. But you took this advantage and tossed it into the garbage, Minnesota. You bought a Tesla and then burned it to warm your house in the winter.
JANE: So you've wasted 17 seconds on like, making a sandwich or doing taxes or whatever that was. Now you have two seconds left. Now: I get "go for the win!" And perhaps, had it been literally any other play but the one they chose, it works. But they looked at the broad swath of potential college football plays, and chose the one that wouldn't. They chose to try a quarterback sneak against a DL that had stuffed the middle all day and was playing for its collective post-That Thing That Happened Against Michigan State lives.
All of this could have been avoided had they GONE FOR THE DANG FIELD GOAL. In overtime, you'd have a.) Mitch Leidner throwing dimes in tribute to the coach who made him believe in himself, b.) a stadium full of crazed Wildlings and c.) a Michigan QB who had had his first completion - yes, completion - at the college level roughly ten minutes earlier. OT would also limit Jabrill Peppers to just 364,768 potential things he can do, not including his prowess in Formula One racing.
RYAN: Look, we should point out that Tracy Claeys became head coach less than a week ago, and even experienced coaches bungle end of game management with astonishing regularity. All told, he did a fine job getting Minnesota ready to play against a good Michigan team. But the Wolverines gave you nineteen seconds and challenged you to get a yard, and you fucked it right up.
JANE: Sometimes, don't be a hero. Maybe don't confront the armed gunman, don't try to run back into the burning building and if you have two seconds, just kick a dang field goal.