The Rutgers University football program gave its best effort Saturday, but came up short in a 41-31 loss to nationally-ranked West Virginia University in a Big East Conference game at a snow-filled High Point Solutions Stadium. The Scarlet Knights (5-3, 1-2 Big East) held a 31-21 halftime advantage, but were held scoreless in the second half by the Mountaineers (6-2, 2-1), who scored 20 second-half points to earn its 17th straight victory over Rutgers.
However, come Sunday morning Rutgers fans will not be talking about the 10-point lead that got away. Instead, the Scarlet Knight faithful will be questioning head coach Greg Schiano and his fake field goal call that took possible points off the board and helped West Virginia, ranked No. 24 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and No. 24 in the AP Poll, pull out the victory.
With about 11 minutes remaining, Rutgers, which had a 31-28 lead, faced a fourth-and-seven from West Virginia 11-yard line. As expected, the Scarlet Knights lined up for a 28-yard field goal attempt, but when the ball was snapped holder, senior defensive back Patrick Kivlehan, rolled out to his left and floated a pass to a wide-open receiver, sophomore Brandon Coleman, who was backpedaling in the end zone. The ball stayed in the air long enough for a WVU defender to hustle back and break up the play.
On its next possession, WVU used an 11-play, 89-yard drive, capped by a one-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Geno Smith, to help take a 34-31 lead.
So, the question is asked. In a tight game where points are crucial, should have Schiano tried the fake field goal?