A punt fake works best when the opposing team isn’t expecting it. So apparently Northern Illinois decided in Tuesday’s Quick Lane Bowl against Duke that 4th and 18 from its own 11 was a good time to run a punt fake.
It did not work.
If the fake would have worked, Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey would have likely been hailed as a gutsy genius. But the play call left a lot to be desired.
If you’re going to throw (relatively) deep on a punt fake, you have to at least throw it past the first down marker. NIU punter Matt Ference didn’t do that. If the pass had been completed, the Huskies still may not have gotten a first down.
To make matters worse for NIU fans, Duke quickly scored after the fake to jump out to a 14-0 lead. NIU tied the game at 14-14 but ended up losing 36-14.
Here’s what Huskies coach Rod Carey had to say about the game.
Carey explains NIU's fake punt on fourth-and-18 from inside own end zone. He later mentioned field goal attempt in third quarter was a bad snap and Orne improvised. pic.twitter.com/Lyk1pBQopj
— Josh Tolentino (@JCTSports) December 27, 2017
“We’re trying to get a first down, that’s the easiest thing I can tell you. The play before that [a Duke player] really mugged up our gunner. We felt like, if we get an incompletion, it’ll be an interference. He did a smart thing, he bailed off. It’s a punter throwing to a defensive back so it’s a tough one to get unless you get an interference call. It was us certainly trying to get a first down, try and get going with something.”
The play was reminiscent of a fake punt BYU tried a year ago in a regular season game vs. Boise State. The similarity wasn’t lost on BYU punter Jonny Linehan, who was involved in the Cougars’ fake.
Lol looks like that time BYU went for it on 4th and 19 from their own end zone…Oh wait… That was me.
— Jonny Linehan (@jlinehan9) December 26, 2017
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