Give a defense a lot to deal with on a play, and there’s a good chance for a breakdown or two.
Or, in the case of this touchdown play by Ohio State against Nebraska a week ago, the Huskers let three Buckeyes break wide open. Quarterback J.T. Barrett picked out tight end Rashod Berry for a 16-yard score, one of Barrett’s five TD passes on the night.
That’s why this was a good play to feature in this bye-week edition. It’s symbolic of the change that has come over the offense in the weeks since the loss to Oklahoma. The offense ripped through Army, UNLV, Rutgers, Maryland and Nebraska at a clip never seen before at Ohio State, a school-record five straight games of 500-plus total yards.
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One reason is because of the enhancements to the passing portfolio by coordinator Kevin Wilson and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day. Like this scheme — let’s call it “Spread, Z’s cross, Y corner” for simplicity, though it’s quite complex, with receivers on three levels.
At the snap, the two Z — or off-the-line — receivers, cross over the middle, while the X receiver out wide right takes off toward the end zone. The running back releases left out of the backfield. Both Z’s broke open as they cut through the bottom of the Nebraska zone.
But Barrett had his eye on Berry all the way, because the scrambling Huskers let him run free from when he broke off the line. When he angled to the corner, Berry looked back and saw the pass from Barrett already on the way.