Neal Brown Stands By His Decision On The Fourth Down

Neal Brown Stands By His Decision On The Fourth Down

Coach Neal Brown of West Virginia defended his decision to punt on fourth and short during a press conference

Despite their best efforts, the West Virginia Mountaineers came up short of upsetting the 17th-ranked Pitt Panthers on Thursday night.

In what appears to be a game that came down to a few plays, a decision by Mountaineer coach Neal Brown just over halfway through the fourth quarter sparked controversy among Mountaineer fans and the media.

Neal Brown Stands By His Decision On The Fourth Down

Obviously, it’s easy to second guess a decision when it doesn’t go in the right direction, but for Neal Brown and his staff, the decision to go for it on fourth down is based on analytics before the ball has even been kicked into the air.

With a little over six minutes left to play in the game, Neal Brown had to make a choice as to what to do. In the 48th minute, the Mountaineers had a seven-point lead with a fourth and about a foot left just inside Pitt territory. As a result, Brown chose to pin the Panthers back in their own end.

“With a little over six minutes left in the game, it was fourth and about a foot – we’re up seven at the time. It is possible to pin them, and we did that,” said Brown before he had the misfortune to say that the Panthers had to go 98 yards to tie the game, whereas it was 92 yards.

Nevertheless, his point is a valid one. There were three timeouts left in the game, so if you go for it there and you don’t get it, then they have a short field and they have three timeouts left.

As a result, the only answer I can give you is that, if I had to do it all over again, I would make the same decision,” explained Brown.

“If you look at what they’ve done traditionally, you’ll find that they’ve been a really, really, really good team in short-yardage situations,” explained Brown later on.

Taking a closer look at the play, you could probably tell that it was 34.4 yards, and so I felt that if you take into account the entire scope of the game, it was their drive before that in which we got two sacks and we got them to third and forever, and we played a really good defensive game on back-to-back drives, so I felt good.

Before West Virginia faced the fourth and short yardage situation, they faced three third and short yardage situations – twice they ran the ball to gain yardage. He broke off a 23-yard run to the Pitt one-yard line earlier in the fourth quarter on a third and one play, and then he picked up a third and two play in the third quarter.

While it is easy to say that a team should go for it, it is a bitter pill for fans to swallow considering freshman CJ Donaldson just picked up two yards on the previous play and he made several big plays throughout the night, gaining 125 yards on seven carries, and never once not gaining at least a yard.