Without blocking, you’re going nowhere. Pass protection is a quarterback’s best friend, and good execution by blockers in the run game makes a running back more productive. Mark Schofield shares some love with the Bowling Green offensive line.
A team that has not gotten a lot of attention this season is Bowling Green. The Falcons improved to 6-2 on Saturday ‒ 4-0 in the MAC ‒ with an impressive 48-0 victory over Kent State. They are led by quarterback Matt Johnson, who has completed 70% of his passes on the season for 3,321 yards, 29 touchdowns and only three interceptions. The senior QB has thrown for over 400 yards in six games thus far in 2015, including throwing for 430 against the Kent State Golden Flashes.
But for this long passing play, the love goes to his offensive line.
Already enjoying a 24-0 lead, the Falcons line up for 3rd and 5 with an empty backfield, and Johnson in the shotgun. They deploy a 3X2 alignment, with two receivers left and trips to the right. Kent State has a 3-2-6 sub package on the field, showing a zero blitz up front:
The offense has a perfect play called for the situation, a tunnel screen:
This play requires perfect execution from three blockers in particular: Wide receiver Gehrig Dieter (#4) is in the the slot, and will flare to the outside on the play to block in the secondary. Meanwhile left guard Ryan Hunter (#68) and center Tim McAuliffe (#71) will block momentarily before releasing downfield.
Watch as these three players pave the road for WR Ronnie Moore (#5):
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Dieter does a tremendous job, blocking both defensive backs on the outside. The WR handles the CB over him with his right arm, and cuts off the outside cornerback using only his left arm. When the slot CB is able to disengage from Dieter and angle toward Moore, Hunter is able to get enough contact with the defensive back to prevent him from bringing down the ball carrier. Not to be outdone, McAuliffe makes his way deep into the secondary, using a cut block to get in the path of a defender coming from the backside. These three impressive blocks open a huge alley for Moore to exploit on this 58-yard touchdown:
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The long scoring play extended the Falcons’ lead to 31-0, and they went on to notch the shutout victory. The win over Kent State kept them atop the MAC East standings, keeping them on track for a huge showdown with the Toledo Rockets in mid-November.
Johnson finished the day 27 of 40 for 430 yards and five touchdowns, keeping him atop most statistical categories in FBS including yards, yards per game, and touchdowns (where he is tied). As the season progresses, keep an eye on the senior quarterback. With numbers like these every week, he might start to creep up draft boards as the post-season approaches.
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 ESPN.