Cincinnati’s late-game clock management versus Georgia on Friday was extremely questionable, but Luke Fickell has no regrets about it.
The Bearcats appeared to be in full control of the Peach Bowl up until the final moments. Cincinnati, leading 21-19 with under two minutes remaining, was aggressive with its late-game play calling – and it cost the Bearcats a win.
On Cincinnati’s final drive, quarterback Desmond Ridder snapped the ball with plenty of time left on the game clock multiple times. The Bearcats also called a passing play on third down that fell incomplete, stopping the clock and giving the ball back to Georgia.
Fickell’s an excellent coach, but his late-game management was horrendous Friday afternoon. He had a hard time taking criticism about his late-game management following the game.
Here was the exchange in the post-game press conference when Luke Fickell was asked about the clock management decisions on the final drive. #Bearcats
"Is that, really, are you serious? Because we're going to play to win. We play to win." pic.twitter.com/FyeZWtkN1O
— Justin Williams (@Williams_Justin) January 1, 2021
There’s no doubt tensions are high. But Luke Fickell can’t make excuses.
The Bearcats should’ve ran the ball and drained the clock. In doing so, Georgia would’ve gotten the ball back with much less time on the clock. That could’ve made the difference.
Instead, Cincinnati was aggressive, it didn’t work and the Bulldogs won the game. It’s going to be a long off-season for the Bearcats.
It’ll be interesting to see how long Luke Fickell sticks around in Cincinnati. He’s obviously one of the best up-and-comers in the sport. It’s only a matter of time before he gets a major head coaching gig.
For now, he’ll reflect on his late-game management in the Peach Bowl. Georgia, meanwhile, will celebrate Fickell’s costly mistake.