Under The Radar: Why Downfield Blocks Matter, OSU QB in Baton Rouge, Seattle's Best & Near M

While most of the eyeballs of the country were on the two big prime time match-ups of #4 Ohio State at #9 Penn State and #7 Stanford at #8 Notre Dame here are some things from one of those games and from the other games that you may not have noticed…..

Downfield Blocking: While there were big plays in a lot of places in # 4 Ohio State’s road win over #9 Penn State what you may not have noticed was the level of blocking downfield by both team’s receivers. The one overlooked but vitally important element of Spread offenses is the blocking of those receivers. On run plays, on screen passes, on jet sweeps they have to block safeties, corners or even linebackers. On pass plays when the ball is completed they have to find people to block in a hurry. That happened on a long Ohio State TD in the 4th quarter. Ohio State WR Binjimen Victor caught a pass at the Penn State 35 broke a tackle and was helped by 3 OSU receivers who sprinted towards the ball and made blocks for him. On a number of Penn State QB Trace McSorley’s runs Penn State receivers were hustling to make blocks. The game winning TD was possible because WR Terry McLaurin pinned Penn State’s CB inside allowing K.J. Hill to get down the sideline and score. For all the focus on the big plays, a number of them were because of downfield blocking.

Syracuse’s Near Miss: There are good downfield blocks and there are bad ones....In one of the penalties of the season an ineligible man downfield penalty on Syracuse on a key fourth down kept Clemson's playoff hopes alive. On a crucial fourth and one with the lead late in the game, Syracuse completed a tricky play-action pass for a first down. But one of the offensive linemen wandered downfield too far and an alert official threw the flag. Losing that first down play cost them a chance at another score to potentially put the game away.

OSUQB: Baton Rouge: On the Bayou the LSU Tigers are having a great season. At Quarterback is Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow who came to LSU this summer after Dwayne Haskins was named the starter in Columbus. All he’s done is lead LSU to wins over #8 Miami and #7 Auburn—both away from LSU’s home field. While his numbers in the early part of the season were just solid, Saturday night against Ole Miss were his best yet passing for 292 yards and 3 TDs and rushing for 96 yards and another TD. So two QBs who were on the Buckeye’s roster in April are now leading 2 teams in the Top 5 with a combined record of 10-0. It could be a potentially interesting playoff meeting if OSU & LSU keep winning.

Seattle’s Best: On The West Coast #11 Washington brewed a big win over #20 BYU. Washington QB Jake Browning is like a master barista mixing in a TD run with an incredible 23 of 25 passes for 277 yards and another touchdown. Meanwhile the Huskies defense came up in a grande way, holding BYU to just 194 yards of total offense. The 35-7 win sets the Huskies up to make a playoff run with games against Stanford, Oregon and Cal left to make their case. Washington has been serving up consistently good football with Browning at QB, but sometimes it goes unnoticed back east.

Screen Shot of The Week: These Georgia fans are channeling the Oakland/LA/Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders with a black and red look that seems taken right from a Mad Max movie. They have plenty to be excited about as Georgia looks to be one of the few teams capable of running with Alabama.

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