CFB Throw of the Week: Vad Lee Goes Deep in the Heart of Texas

Every week in college football, some FCS school gets paid to travel to an FBS school and take a whupping. But no one told the James Madison Dukes. Mark Schofield looks at the key play, from the key player, as Vad Lee goes deep in the heart of Texas.

When an FCS school goes on the road to knock off an FBS program, it’s worth tweeting about.

When the quarterback of that FCS school racks up nearly three hundred yards passing and three touchdowns in the upset, it’s worth writing about.

When the same QB sets a new school record rushing the ball, it’s really worth writing about.

When the game-winning touchdown pass happens with one second left in the game ‒ it has to be written about.

Readers, meet James Madison quarterback Vad Lee.

The Dukes traveled to the Heart of Texas to take on the SMU Mustangs Saturday night, and knocked off the home team 48-45. Lee was dazzling, completing 20 of 33 passes and three TDs while carrying the football 20 times for 276 yards and two more scores.

James Madison trailed 45-41 late in the game, when Lee and the Dukes took over at their own 25-yard line after a touchback. Seven plays later, the offense was at the SMU 17-yard line, facing 1st and 10 with only 35 seconds remaining in the game.

The Dukes deploy 10 offensive personnel on the field for this play, with Lee in the shotgun and trips on the left. SMU had both outside linebackers on the edges showing blitz, and the secondary showing Cover 0:CFBReview4JMUPlay1Still1

John Miller is the inside trips receiver, running a corner route. The other two receivers on the left run curl routes:CFBReview4JMUPlay1Still2

The two edge rushers blitz, leaving the secondary in man coverage everywhere in the backfield. The three defensive backs defending the trips formation use catch man technique on this play. With no help to the middle of the field, redshirt freshman safety Jordan Wyatt uses inside leverage to push the receiver toward the sideline.

With the football on the right hashmark, any throw to the outside will be much more difficult than a throw to the middle of the field. The two edge rushers generate pressure at Lee’s feet, and the quarterback cannot fully step in the throw. Instead, the QB is forced to make this throw off his back foot. But that doesn’t matter:

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Miller is able to gain separation after his break ‒ leaving Wyatt inside ‒ as he races to outside. Lee drops this throw in the bucket perfectly, and the Dukes secured a huge road win against an FBS opponent.

Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.

Mark Schofield has always loved football. He breaks down film, scouts prospects, and explains the passing game for Inside the Pylon.

All video and images courtesy ESPN3. 

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