29 Lead, Y release

Talk about the old bamboozle, that’s what Ohio State pulled on Michigan for its second touchdown last week.

It’s a play Wisconsin defensive coaches likely spent time studying this week, too, headed toward the Big Ten championship game. What they probably noted was it looked quite familiar, at first, to a play OSU used to score the winning touchdown in the second overtime against Michigan the year before.

That play was called 29 Lead. Let’s call this one “29 Lead, Y release,” because that’s what happened last week at Michigan. Instead of running the lead, which Curtis Samuel took 15 yards untouched for a touchdown in 2016, the Buckeyes ran a variant.

As J.T. Barrett lined up at pistol depth, with running back Mike Weber to his left and hybrid back K.J. Hill to his right, he also had a receiver split left and one right, with tight end Marcus Baugh (the Y) lined up on the tight left slot. At the snap, Weber started left apparently to lead the way for what Michigan defenders expected to be a handoff to Hill in that direction, just as Samuel had taken the handoff the year before.

Then came the bamboozle. Barrett kept the ball and looked upfield, noting Baugh had released up the seam on a skinny post route while the safety to that side had rolled to the outside to pick up the receiver, since the cornerback had crashed across the line to take on what he thought was the lead play.

Baugh was open and caught the easy flip from Barrett to complete a 25-yard touchdown play.