Film Study: The Expanded Edition
By John Helsley
follow me on twitter @jjhelsley
In Thursday’s paper, I wrote about OSU’s heavy lean to the left in the run game as part of my film study analysis, which will be a regular feature throughout the football season (typically on Monday’s, but later this week and next due to non-televised games).
Here’s what I wrote on that — and more — and as I’ve added a few more items that didn’t fit in the paper, but always have a place in cyberspace…
Film Study: Cowboys Run Game Leans Left
Kendall Hunter’s path to the No. 2 spot in the national rushing rankings veers left – predominantly left.
Through two games, Hunter has run for 414 yards and six touchdowns. And the overwhelming bulk of his 49 carries have gone behind the left side of the Oklahoma State line, where tackle Nick Martinez, guard Jonathan Rush and center Grant Garner have created regular running lanes.
Even when the Cowboys send Justin Blackmon or Josh Cooper slashing inside for tosses, some runs some technically passes, it’s almost strictly to the left.
In our weekly film study review, that jumped off the screen from the Troy game.
The Cowboys ran 37 times against the Trojans. Rarely did the call go right.
Maybe it’s only an early trend, built around some comfort zone on that side of the ball, although OSU’s one returning line starter from 2009, Lane Taylor, is situated at right guard.
Maybe it’s what scouting reports of Washington State and Troy dictated.
But you can bet if a sports writer has noticed, future foes will notice.
Junior wide receiver Josh Cooper produced his best game as a Cowboy against Troy, both statistically and in impact.
Cooper posted career-bests in receptions (8) and receiving yards (114) and also added 16 rushing yards on end around.
But he changed the game for OSU with a third-quarter punt return for a touchdown, breaking a 27-27 tie and sending the Cowboys ahead for good in the 41-38 win.
The return, covering 66 yards, started with Cooper fielding a rugby-style punt from Troy’s Will Goggans on the fly. After the catch, Cooper shook free from the first defender downfield, headed left for 30 yards, then cut back right at the 25, cruising into the end zone.
Among Cooper’s receptions were a 40-yard grab to the Troy 24, setting up a Hunter scoring run; and a 41-yard catch on a third-down play to extend another touchdown drive.
With Blackmon and Cooper piling up impressive receiving statistics, Tracy Moore’s three catches were somewhat overshadowed.
Except two of Moore’s grabs converted third downs and kept alive scoring drives.
With OSU down 27-20 and facing third-and-4 at the Troy 8, Moore caught a pass near the right sideline and turned it upfield for several tough yards and a first down at the 2. Weeden hit Blackmon on a fade route on the next play as the Cowboys pulled even.
Play of the Game
Angst had filled the Boone Pickens Stadium air as Weeden fumbled the snap while trying to take knee in the final minute.
Troy recovered at the Cowboys 34, needing just a field goal to tie it.
But as Trojans quarterback Corey Robinson dropped back to pass on first down, Justin Gent circled wide around the right side, and tomahawked the ball free while jumping on Robinson’s back.
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