Oregon 2 Point Attempts: What Went Wrong and How to Improve

In college football, there are so many ways to score, from long drives to strategy for shorter strikes. Failing at multiple two point conversions over the surer thing though, as Ryan Dukarm explains, hurts.

In Week 3 of the 2016 college football season the Oregon Ducks lost a heartbreaker to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, falling 35-32. In a highly-powered offensive showdown, the Ducks scored five touchdowns, and went for two-point conversions on all five scores. They were only successful on the first attempt, catching the Cornhuskers defense by surprise. There is no reason the Ducks should have failed on these attempts when looking at the film, as the plays called were very good, and put the team in position to succeed. The execution failed, however, causing the Ducks to end up losing by just three points at the end of the day.

[dt_divider style=”thick” /]Catching Them By Surprise

After their first touchdown on the day, the Ducks begin by lining up to attempt an extra point.

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After the motion, Oregon comes out in a trick formation, with kicker Aidan Schneider (#41) lined up as a quarterback in the shotgun. They send the majority of the offensive line off to the right of the field, with wide receiver Charles Nelson (#6) lined up behind the line between the hashes and the numbers. Tight end Pharoah Brown (#85) and defensive lineman Drayton Carlberg (#90) remain lined up next to long snapper Tanner Carew (#58). After the shift, Nelson motions back towards Schneider, who takes the shotgun snap and flips the ball to Nelson on the jet sweep. Brown and Carlberg create just enough of a lane for Nelson to make a cut upfield and dive into the endzone for the Ducks’ only successful two-point conversion.

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After a Tony Brooks-James touchdown run, the Ducks once again begin by lining up for a extra point, before motioning into another trick formation.


After the motion, the Ducks have Nelson lined up in a deep shotgun position, ready to take the snap. In front of Nelson there are three offensive lineman plus TE Pharaoh Brown. To each side of the field there are two lineman and an eligible “receiver” behind each pair of blockers, with backup quarterback Travis Jonsen (#11) to the bottom of the screen and Schneider (the kicker) to the top of the screen. This formation stresses the defense and forces them to place enough defenders in each part of the field to defend a possible pass or run by Nelson.

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Nebraska does not adequately defend this play pre-snap, as they send only two defenders to the bottom of the screen against two blockers along with Jonsen. However, Oregon has a play called that doesn’t take advantage of this matchup, and they have not prepared Nelson enough to audible out of the play and hit Jonsen on a quick pass for an easy conversion. Instead, Nelson runs a variation on the jump pass, beginning by running out towards Jonsen before attempting to hit him as he releases into the end zone. The play looks broken all the way, and the ball falls incomplete after being deflected by the Nebraska defense.

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When watching the play before the snap you can actually see Nebraska cornerback Chris Jones (#8) jumping and yelling at his teammates to get another player out to cover for the quick pass and help even out the match up. Nebraska ends up getting lucky that Oregon did not adequately prepare for this play.

Following a 50-yard touchdown run from running back Taj Griffin, the Ducks once again motion out of their extra point formation and into the same formation as they used on the above failed attempt.

Once again, the Cornhuskers defense presents Oregon with an opportunity at the bottom of the screen, sending only two defenders against two blockers and Jonsen. However, Nelson does not audible out of the play, and runs an unsuccessful lead play to the right, where the six Nebraska defenders that began the play in the box converge to keep him out of the end zone.

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[dt_divider style=”thick” /]Switching to the Offense

After a 41-yard touchdown run by Kani Benoit, Oregon abandons faking the extra point and keeps their standard offensive personnel on the field for the two point attempt.

Oregon has 11 personnel, in a shotgun left formation. Nelson motions from the left slot to the right of the formation, joining tight end Evan Baylis (#81) and WR Jalen Brown (#15) in a bunch formation on the right, leaving WR Devon Allen (#13) split out to the left.


At the snap Oregon runs a mesh concept over the middle with Baylis and Allen, Nelson runs a speed out to the flat, and Brown runs a seam route against Nebraska corner Joshua Kalu (#10). Brown gains inside leverage on Kalu, and there is an opening for a successful conversion as Brown releases into the endzone. However, quarterback Dakota Prukop’s (#9) throw is behind Brown, allowing Kalu to recover and make a diving deflection to save two points.

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Following another touchdown run from Brooks-James, Oregon again leaves their offense on the field, employing 12 personnel for this two-point conversion try. Oregon is in shotgun, with Brooks-James (#20) to the right of Prukop and the ball on the left hash. They have a tight end and wing back to the right of the formation, along with a receiver split to each side of the field. At the snap, Brooks-James runs at full speed to the right, drawing Nebraska safety Nathan Gerry (#25) away from the play. Prukop takes the snap and runs a sweep to the left, which is the short side of the field. Oregon pulls right guard Doug Brenner (#57) and the wing back Brown out in front of Prukop. However, the quarterback outruns his blockers and is forced the edge where he dives for the goal line on his way out of bounds. Prukop fails to extend the ball during his dive and ends up just inches short of the goal line.

[jwplayer file=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Oregon-2-Point-Video-5.mp4″ image=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Oregon-Two-Point-Still-6.jpg”]

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[dt_divider style=”thick” /]How to Improve Going Forward

On the bright side for Oregon, the failures and mistakes they showed in these two-point attempts are easily correctable. When they use a trick formation like their first two attempts, they need to use someone who feels comfortable throwing the ball in the event defenses leave the groups of players along the sideline under-covered as Nebraska did both times. It defeats the purpose of this formation to simply run it at the strongest point of the defense. In addition, the Ducks need to install quick audibles for situations like the ones above, so that way even if a run is called, the offense can quickly adjust to a passing play, or vice versa.

Had Prukop made a slightly better throw to Brown on the seam route, or had he extended the ball another 6 inches, this may have been a very different game.

Oregon had a multitude of opportunities to convert their two-point attempts in their Week 3 game against Nebraska. In a contest that ended up being decided by just 3 points, better execution on some of these two-point attempts could have made the difference between a win and a loss.

Follow Ryan on Twitter @DBRyan_Dukarm. Check out the rest of his work, including covering the UCLA Bruins’ use of Spot Concept, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ end around rush, and Buffalo’s double track block scheme and deep passing game.

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All film courtesy of DraftBreakdown.

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