Late in the game with the game up in the air, the contest can be decided by just one swift kick of the ball. Helplessly awaiting their team's fate, opposing coaches more than likely will call a timeout to "ice" the kicker. You know, make him think hard about the pressure he is about to face by calling a timeout.
Well, it looks like Missouri coach Gary Pinkel has the system all backward, and it may have cost his Tigers the win Friday night against Arizona State.
With 12 ticks remaining on the clock with the score tied at 30 apiece, it looked like this game was as good as over. The rain started to pour, foreshadowing to the lively Arizona State crowd that this game was just another perfect storm of a meltdown. There is no way that star senior Grant Ressel was going to miss his fifth field goal of his career, right?
Some may say he could have nailed it right there on the spot, but Pinkel didn't like something he saw out on the field. Thirty more seconds of thinking go by, and Ressel is lining himself up to send a win back to Mizzou.
Not so fast, says Pinkel, as he called yet another timeout, leaving his kicker confused as to what was going on. Viewers scratched their heads, Sun Devils fans got more anxious and the announcers were borderline clueless as to what was going on.
As you can imagine, Ressel missed the kick wide left. After a couple minutes of rain soaking up the ground and having time to have all the pressure come to his mind, it really isn't that big of a shocker to see him hook it left.
Was Gary Pinkel wrong in calling two timeouts before Ressel's field goal attempt?
Just like any other game, one play didn't lose it, but it sure could have won it. The Tigers shot themselves in the foot by committing 114 yards worth of penalties and letting ASU earn 388 passing yards, but yet they still had the game in reach.
Missouri came back to score 14 unanswered points and left the hopping Sun Devil Stadium close to silent, but after the 48-yard miss, the energy was restored inside the stadium. That energy was put to great use as Sun Devils receiver Jamal Miles grabbed the go-ahead touchdown in overtime.
When it was Missouri's time to shine, the Arizona State defense did everything they could to prevent overtime No 2. With the help of the crowd and the momentum, they handed Mizzou their first loss after just four overtime plays.
You can't pin the game on just one play, but you can only wonder if a proven kicker like Ressel could have buried the game-winner without those timeouts.