If you find yourself up 11 points after scoring a touchdown late in a football game, you should kick the extra point. It is much more likely the opponent will score a TD, go for two, and kick a field goal than score a TD and kick two field goals. The chart says it. So does common sense.
Brian Kelly messed this up. After a William Fuller TD from Everett Golson, Kelly told Notre Dame to go for two. They missed. Northwestern scored a TD a few minutes later and picked up the two-point conversion after a Notre Dame pass interference penalty, then kicked a field goal to tie the game at 40 with 20 seconds left, eventually winning on a field goal in OT.
When asked about the decision post-game, Kelly gave this answer:
A 50-50 call? Not really. The evidence is pretty clear you should take the extra point. Asked about it again shortly thereafter, he had this to say: his decision to go for two was also affected by "the kicking game," presumably referring to Northwestern's blocked extra point earlier in the game that the Wildcats ran back for a defensive conversion. But that's a hell of an overreaction. Kyle Brindza, Notre Dame's kicker, had converted on 105 of the 106 field goals he'd attempted in his career, including all 39 this year. He missed both of his field goals on the day, but he still went 4-for-5 on extra points, and that's all Notre Dame would've needed to keep this from going to overtime.
Brian Kelly said going for two was a "coin flip" Did not expand.— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) November 16, 2014