Johnson On The Sugar - Beamer's Rough Day
Posted Jan 3, 2012

Terry Johnson on the Frank Beamer's bad decisions in the Sugar.

By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball

Congratulations to Michigan for winning its first BCS Bowl game since the 2000 Orange Bowl. The Wolverine players deserve all the credit in the world for making plays when they needed to.

However, they also received a great deal of help from an unlikely source – Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer. Beamer made two ill-advised decisions to go for it on fourth down, which would end up costing the Hokies the game.

Make no mistake about it, Frank Beamer will go down as one of the greatest coaches in college football history. He has won many big games throughout his tenure with his aggressive playing calling, especially against superior opponents.

But his intestinal fortitude cost his team tonight.

The first questionable decision came midway through the second quarter with Tech leading 6-0. The Hokies faced a fourth-and-one on the Michigan 4-yard line. Rather than kick the equivalent of an extra point to take a two-score lead, Beamer elected to go for it.

Big mistake. The Wolverines stopped the Hokies on downs, and played like a completely different team after that. A suddenly rejuvenated Michigan team scored twice before the half to take a 10-6 lead.

All of this could have been avoided by simply putting points on the board.

Tragically, this would happen again in the fourth quarter.

With the score knotted at 17, Virginia Tech faced another fourth-and-one on the Michigan 48 with seven minutes to play. This time, Beamer elected to go with the element of surprise, and run a fake punt. Michigan snuffed it out, and took over on the Tech 45. The Wolverines took advantage of the short field, driving 20 yards to kick the go-ahead FG.

This decision was worse than the one in the second quarter. Michigan had failed to move the ball against the Hokie defense in the second half. With plenty of time remaining in the game, a Virginia Tech punt would have given the Wolverines poor field position. Even if Michigan had picked up a few first downs, the Hokies would have had excellent field position for their final drive.

Instead, Virginia Tech had to claw its way back to force overtime.

It never should have come to that point. If Beamer had elected to kick the ball on just one of these occasions, the Hokies win the game.