UCF football was looking to add to its lead over Memphis before halftime, so head coach Guz Malzahn decided to send it. Actually, he didn’t want to send it, but his players did so anyway.
With just over 30 seconds left in the first half, the Knights held a seven-point lead over the Tigers. They faced 4th-and-3 from just beyond the 50-yard-line without any timeouts.
Malzahn had a few choices:
- Line up to go for it and try to move the chains.
- Line up to go for it and try to draw the defense offside.
- Literally anything else.
- Kick a field goal.
He chose the third option, or at least he claims to have chosen the third option.
Rather than punt the ball away, UCF sent its field goal team onto the field. It was a 63-yard attempt for true freshman Colton Boomer.
The ball was snapped, the hold was perfect and Boomer tried to knock the ball between the uprights. He did not.
Instead, the kick soared wide right, didn’t even reach the end zone, and landed just inside the five-yard-line. Memphis scooped up the live ball and returned it back to midfield.
Even if the kick had the distance (which it did not), it would have missed to the right. There was no reason that a freshman kicker with a career-long make of 43 yards should have ever attempted a 64-yarder. It was two yards short of Justin Tucker’s NFL record.
Gus Malzahn claims he agrees that UCF should not have kicked a 64-yard field goal.
He said before halftime that the ball was never supposed to be snapped. The Knights were supposed to try and draw the defense offside and take the delay of game penalty if unsuccessful.
That may well have been the case. However, if true, why would Malzahn send out the kicking team to try and draw the defense offside? Wouldn’t the offense have made more sense? And if the instructions were clear — DO NOT SNAP THE BALL — why was the ball snapped?
Whether Malzahn was telling the truth or not (he probably was???), there was no harm or foul. Memphis went three-and-out on the proceeding possession and missed a 54-yard field goal of its own to end the half.