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ITP Northwestern

The Situation
Michigan and Northwestern are tied at 14 midway through the 3rd quarter. Neither offense has been doing a particularly good job moving the ball down the field, so it's likely that the next score could be the game-winner in deteriorating weather conditions. The Wildcats have the ball on Michigan's 47-yard line, and they have a 1st and 10. They have only moved the ball across midfield once the entire day.

Personnel and Formation
Northwester is in a spread formation, with trips to the right, and a single receiver to the left side of the line. Stephen Simmons is lined up to CJ Bacher's right in the shotgun. Michigan counters with a 4-3 formation, with Brandon Harrison playing linebacker, and aligned slightly wider to the trips side. Stevie Brown and Charles Stewart are the safeties.

The Play

At the snap, all four Northwestern wideouts go downfield. The outside receivers run fade routes down the sidelines. The outisde slot runs a skinny post, and the interior slot runs a deep crossing route. Simmons comes out of the backfield as a checkdown, running a hitch route. Michigan counters with a cover-2 zone. Trent and Warren cover the fades on the outside, and Brown and Stewart cover the deep middle. Ross Lane Eric Peterman, running the skinny post, is wide open behind the safeties, and sprints into the endzone for one of the easiest touchdown catches of his life.

The player will show in this paragraph

Why it Worked
There is a little disagreement between Paul and me as to who is to blame on this play (though both of us think Stewart is the primarily culpable party). Trent and Warren seem to be covering the fades quite well in my opinion, leaving the safeties free to cover the other two downfield routes. Paul disagrees, and thinks Trent has lost his man, giving Stewart no choice but to cover the sideline route (of course, the Big Ten Network shows no replay that shows the secondary, which would certainly help decide who is to blame). Regardless, Stewart leaves Lane Peterman completely alone on the skinny post, as Brown has stepped up to cover the deep cross. It is apparent that Stewart is primarily to blame, as Brown bitches him out in the endzone, with no apparent protestations from Stewart.

Also helping Northwestern succeed on this play is one of the most ridiculous non-calls of a holding I've seen so far this year (except maybe in the OSU-OSU game). Tim Jamison has a free run at Bacher, except, of course, for the left tackles arm, which is wrapped around his neck. Just another example of the despicable officiating the Big Ten has seen this year (I won't even get into Donovan Warren's INT for TD that wasn't...).

Now you know what it was like Inside the Play.

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“ITP Northwestern”

  1. Blogger Chaddogg Says:

    Good wrap-up, but it was Eric Peterman, not Ross Lane, on the reception.

  2. Blogger Tim Says:

    Good catch. Fixed.

  3. Blogger gsimmons85 Says:

    Stewart might have over played the fade...imposible to tell if trent has lost on the fade or not, i would bet he did, since he sometimes has a tendency to over play the shallow in cover two, so he can get those big hits he lies to do undernieth.. you can see warren at the top of the screen doign a good job of carring the fade, even if trent is within arms length stewart shouldnt be over playing number 1 that hard, espically with three vertical threats to your side. but i put a lot of blame on harrison for not holdign the vertical of number 2.... if the guy will do anything to at least get inbetween the reciever and the passer, he could at least discourage a throw, forced a bad throw, or at least forced a higher throw which problaby wouldnt have helped since stewart was so far away. a common theme all year of holding inside verticals... first olb's now nickel backers.... of course the easy thing to do is to blame the free safeties and corners, but often times are coverage problems have been due to lb's.. or percieved lb weaknesses being in the back of the mind of safeties and corners...

  4. Blogger gsimmons85 Says:

    and the deep cross, is what we call a dig route... always a good complment to a post route...

    we are actually in a good defense against this combo out of trips...

  5. Blogger Tim Says:

    Thanks for clarifying, G. I though a dig was more of a square-in though...?

  6. Blogger gsimmons85 Says:

    it would be if it was comming from the other side.... its more of a zone route, in other words, his job on the dig is to occupy the safety underneith...