The Alabama Crimson Tide were on the verge of completing a huge comeback until Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly responded with a huge touchdown throw to Cody Core. Mark Schofield breaks down Kelly’s pass and anoints it the CFB Big Gain of the week.
Last October, then-#11 Ole Miss welcomed then-#3 Alabama to Oxford and upset the Crimson Tide, 23-17, using two touchdowns from quarterback Bo Wallace in their comeback victory. Alabama was looking to return the favor on Saturday night, and after going down 30-10 in the third quarter, the visitors ripped off 14 unanswered points to cut the Ole Miss lead to six. Bryant-Denny Stadium was rocking, the Alabama defense was fired up, and it looked like the big comeback was in the works after a pair of touchdowns by the Crimson Tide.
Enter Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly.
On the second play of the drive, Ole Miss faces a 2nd and 1 at their own 27-yard line. The offense lines up with 11 offensive personnel, with Kelly in the shotgun and running back Jaylen Walton (#6) standing next to the QB. Tight end Evan Engram (#17) lines up in the backfield as an up-back, and the offense has slot formation on the left with wide receiver Cody Core #88 split to the right. Alabama has their 4-2-5 defense on the field with Cover 2 coverage showing in the secondary:
Ole Miss runs read/pass option with the first choice being the inside zone run with Walton. Kelly and the RB meet at the mesh point while the QB reads the edge defender on the right, linebacker Denzel Devall (#30). His next move is based off Devall’s reaction: If the linebacker plays the run fake and stays inside, Kelly will pull the football back and attack the edge. Meanwhile Core releases vertically, giving the quarterback a potential throwing option on the play:
Devall flows inside slightly in response to the potential inside handoff. This gives Kelly an opening, and he attacks the edge looking to pick up the first down.
Meanwhile, redshirt freshman cornerback Marlon Humphrey (#26) is forced to make a decision: stay in coverage on Core’s vertical route or give Kelly the edge and a big first down. Humphrey goes for the ball:
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Kelly sees Humphrey and flips the ball downfield to Core at the last possible moment. The receiver is wide-open, and takes the ball the distance for a huge touchdown. While the play was initially called back due to an illegal forward pass, Kelly was on the line of scrimmage as he released the football, and replay ruled the play legal. Ole Miss had a momentum turning score, and would hold on for the 43-37 victory.
From this angle, you can see how Kelly read the play, put pressure on the defense, and was able to find his wide receiver at the last possible moment:
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This was a big response from Ole Miss, and their new quarterback executed this play to perfection. Fans in Oxford will be talking about this touchdown for years to come.
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 are courtesy of the SEC Network and ESPN.