The LSU Tigers are now 3-0, behind the running of dynamic Heisman candidate Leonard Fournette and a power running game that is innovative. Mark Schofield looks at how Fournette is so successful: the blocking of fullback John David Moore paving the road.
Let’s show a little love for the fullback.
These days, spread offenses use three and four wide-receivers on each play, throwing the football on virtually every snap. It may be that the fullback is going the way of the dodo bird with fewer and fewer teams relying on the position. But some schools still use a big bruiser as a ball carrier and blocker in backfield ‒ and the LSU Tigers are one of them. When the Tigers needed a big play on the road against the Syracuse Orange, it was their fullback, John David Moore, who led the way.
Late in the third quarter, the Tigers have the football facing a 2nd and 13 on their own 39. The Orange had scored a touchdown on their previous possession to cut LSU’s lead to seven. On the previous play they dragged down talented running back Leonard Fournette for a three-yard loss. The Carrier Dome crowd was coming alive, and the visiting Tigers needed a big play.
Deploying 21 offensive personnel on the field, quarterback Brandon Harris (#6) is under center, with a slot formation right, and the backs Moore and Fournette in i-formation. Syracuse rolls out a base 4-3 defense on the field:
LSU runs one of their other bread-and-butter running plays here: the lead power run to the right side:
Two nice blocks happen on the right side at the point of attack, with right tackle Vadal Alexander (#74) kicking out the defensive end, while right guard William Clapp (#64) flashed to the second level to take on the play-side outside linebacker. Fournette takes the handoff from Harris with Moore leading him through the hole. And no one comes close to touching him:
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Fournette is into the secondary before anyone has a chance to make the tackle, but wide receiver Travin Dural (#83) does a great job of locking up safety Rodney Williams (#6), and Fournette has a huge touchdown run for the Tigers.
However, the block that springs Fournette loose comes from the fullback. Moore charges through the hole and erases middle linebacker Zaire Franklin (#4). Below, you can see the MLB diagnose the play, scrape over to the hole, and then catch a face-mask full of fieldturf:
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With Moore eliminating Franklin from the running lane, Fournette has nothing but open space in front of him. The running back cashes in on the opportunity, and LSU’s lead is back to 14. Fournette finished the day gaining 244 yards on 26 carries, with two touchdowns. But on this play, it was fullback John David Moore who deserves the accolades.
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.