Brian Kelly won’t change his two-point conversion strategy anytime soon.
The day after Kelly curiously went to two early in the fourth quarter – a conversion that fell incomplete and left Notre Dame trailing 21-9 – the Irish head coach defended the decision and downplayed its impact on Notre Dame’s 24-22 loss at Clemson.
“If you look at it after the fact you could draw any conclusion that you would like,” Kelly said. “I didn’t have any of the info that you have now after the fact. I don’t chase the points until the fourth quarter.
“We wanted the two to make it a 10-point game.”
Kelly said he consulted with a “senior advisor” on the sidelines before the two-point call and had his hunch backed. The Irish head coach also said the two-point conversion chart stated that going for two was the correct move in that situation, at least in the fourth quarter.
“So it was the smart decision to make,” Kelly said. “It was the right one to make.”
Whether that’s hindsight or not, the facts remained that Notre Dame’s defense did allow a field goal early in the fourth quarter to fall behind 24-9. DeShone Kizer’s three-yard touchdown run and Justin Yoon’s point after got the Irish closer, but it still meant Notre Dame had to go for two after Torii Hunter Jr.’s touchdown with seven seconds to play.
Kizer’s run never had a chance, blown up well short of the goal line.
“Obviously if we catch the (first) two-point conversion, which was wide open, then we just kick the extra point and we've got a different outcome,” Kelly said.
Nelson’s status unclear
A sprained ankle suffered against Clemson has left Quenton Nelson’s status for next week unclear. Kelly said the left guard has been fitted with a walking boot and the training staff won’t have a clear take on his availability for Navy for another day.
“We gotta get the pain out of there and see how it responds,” Kelly said. “It’s just too early.”
Alex Bars took over for Nelson against the Tigers.