CFB Week 3 was filled with upsets and big plays. Meanwhile, the Georgia Bulldogs steamrolled the South Carolina Gamecocks, and Mark Schofield breaks down the film on Georgia’s near-perfect performance on their first drive of the second half.
The Georgia Bulldogs rolled over SEC rival South Carolina on Saturday 52-20, featuring a virtuoso performance from quarterback Greyson Lambert, who completed 24 of 25 passes for 330 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. The ground game was impressive as well, with Sony Michel gaining 51 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries, while Nick Chubb contributed 21 carries for 159 yards and two scores. If just one drive could sum up the offensive dominance from the Bulldogs, it would be their opening drive of the second half.
Following a touchback to start the second half, the Georgia offense set up on their 25-yard line with 21 offensive personnel on the field. The Bulldogs have pro set to the right with running backs in an offset i-formation. The Gamecocks employ their base 4-3 defense and showing Cover 2 in the secondary, which they roll to Cover 3 late, dropping a safety into the box:
Georgia uses a basic five-step drop here, with three receivers running deep curl routes. Lambert’s footwork is excellent and he reads this play weak-side all the way. Against Cover 3, the deep curl is an effective weapon because the outside defensive backs need to respect the potential deep route. Receivers can find space by selling the defender on the vertical route and break back to the football, which is what happens here:
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Malcolm Mitchell ‒ a man of literature and crisp routes ‒ breaks off the stem and works back to the QB. Lambert delivers a strong and accurate throw, and the wide receiver picks up 12 yards on first down. On the replay angle, the WR clearly sells the vertical route, gaining separation as he stops. Cornerback Al Harris Jr.’s (#7) momentum carries him further down the field.
Now facing 1st and 10 at their own 37-yard line, the Bulldogs line up without a huddle. Lambert is under center again with 21 personnel in pro formation with an offset I-formation to the right. South Carolina’s 4-3 base defense remains on the field, and once more the secondary shows Cover 3 with eight defenders in the box. The defense expects run here, putting five defenders on the line of scrimmage:
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it:
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The Bulldogs run virtually the same play here, with three receivers running curls allowing Lambert and Mitchell to connect again on the deep curl route, this time off of play-action. The QB takes the snap and quickly shows play-action on a fake to running back Chubb cutting into the A Gap. Lambert then pulls back from the mesh point and wheels to the outside, where Mitchell is selling Harris on the vertical route once more. This time, Harris is able to bump Mitchell out of bounds quickly after the catch, holding him to an eight-yard gain.
Harris is then summoned to the sideline.
The offense is near midfield and the defense is guessing. For this 1st and 10 play, the Gamecocks adjust their defense, putting only seven defenders in the box and dropping into Cover 2:
The offense continues with 21 personnel, in an I-formation with pro alignment to the right. Now that the defense has softened up a bit, they run the football.
Using a zone blocking scheme, Chubb must read the flow of the play and make a decision on the proper hole. Should a gap develop at the point of attack, he will run “downhill”. But if the defense collapses at the point of attack, he will bounce this play to the outside left edge. Finally, if the defense overflows to the left of the offense, he will cut back before hitting the line of scrimmage to find daylight.
Here, the defense overflows:
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Chubb cuts back and finds no immediate threat as he accelerates into the secondary. The defense is finally able to bring him down, but not until he is in South Carolina territory.
Here is how the blocking sets up for this play:
This angle (and notation provided by the ESPN commentators) gives you a good look at the running back’s reads and how the blocking and cutback lane develop:
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The defense is really on its heels ‒ and the offense is just getting started. The Bulldogs set up for this 1st and 10 play at the Gamecocks’ 42-yard line with 12 offensive personnel on the field. The offense has slot formation on the left, and Lambert is in the shotgun with Chubb on his left. Two tight ends are in the game, with freshman tight end Jackson Harris (#88) on the line of scrimmage and sophomore TE Jeb Blazevich (#83) lined up just behind the line in the B Gap:
South Carolina continues to play this drive with their base 4-3 defense, showing Cover 1 in the secondary.
After the snap Lambert hands the ball to Chubb who is aiming for the A Gap on the left. But this play is heading to the right edge. Harris blocks down on the defensive end, while Blazevich and left guard Isaiah Wynn (#77) pull around the right edge. The back simply follows his blockers, who execute perfect blocks on the edge to set up the big run:
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The end zone angle ‒ again, with an assist from the ESPN crew ‒ shows how the blocking came together for this 31-yard run. First, notice the tight splits from the offensive line up front. This compacts the defensive front and gives more room outside for Chubb.
The defensive end lines up inside Harris and angles down at the snap, allowing the TE to ride him inside. Blazevich is the first to gain the edge, sealing off the edge defender as he tries to cut inside. The next defender to flow to the outside is linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams (#4) but Wynn joins the party, locking up the LB and giving Chubb nothing but green in front of him:
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The long run sets the offense up in the red zone.
The offense changes things up a bit, lining up with 20 offensive personnel on the field in dual slot formations. Lambert is in the shotgun with Chubb once again standing to his left. The Gamecocks keep their base 4-3 defense in the game and show Cover 1 in the secondary with the cornerbacks using off man technique. Because of the formation, the defense is required to slide LB Allen-Williams out to the slot, covering a receiver:
The Bulldogs run a quick screen to the left. Freshman WR Michael Chigbu (#82) is on the outside, and races towards his cornerback and locks him up with a solid block. Lambert takes the snap and flips the football to Michel in the slot. The running back hauls in the toss and needs to beat the defender across from him ‒ LB Allen-Williams:
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Michel races out toward the sideline before putting a quick stop-and-go move on the pursuing defender. The running back watches the linebacker fly by before cutting into the end zone to cap off this five-play, 75-yard drive with an 11-yard TD reception.
The Bulldogs moved to 3-0 on the season, 2-0 in the SEC. This drive was an example of how effective they were throughout this contest, and is a testament to the play-calling of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and the execution of his players. Schottenheimer was smart with his personnel packages and mixing up the run and pass, and his players rewarded him with flawless precision. More drives like this will end up with the Bulldogs continuing to roll in the SEC East.
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 ABC Sports.