FanPost

CMU - MSU Game Review, Part 1

[Bumped.  Review, absorb, discuss. -KJ]

I sat down to review, play-by-play, the CMU game to find out what the hell happened.  I discovered that (a) Central had a really good game plan and (b) it's a hell of a lot of work, so hats off to Brian for his UFRs.  Please note that I won't give out qualitative rankings of players or anything; I think the plays should speak for themselves.

First quarter today; second quarter tomorrow, hopefully.

Play-by-play courtesy of espn.com. 

[EDIT: cleaned up some typos and fixed a few things that were unclear].

Situation Offensive Formation Play Comments
1st Quarter      
Central Michigan at 15:00      
    Andrew Aguila kickoff for 66 yards returned by Glenn Winston for 22 yards to the MchSt 26.  
Michigan State at 14:22      
1st and 10 at MSU 26 I formation Kirk Cousins pass complete to Charlie Gantt for 12 yards to the MchSt 38 for a 1ST down. Play action. This is a nifty blocking play where the TE sneaks out, hits the corner, and goes to the stick and runs an out. Meanwhile, the fullback takes the strongside D-end.
1st and 10 at MSU 38 I formation big Caulton Ray rush for 6 yards to the MchSt 44. I form big with Martin in motion faking the end-around. Handoff to Ray; he gets good blocks from Foreman and Cironi to open the hole between. Cironi gets to the next level along with Deane who pulled through, and Ray picks up 6.
2nd and 4 at MSU 44 I formation Larry Caper rush for 16 yards to the CMich 40 for a 1ST down. Caper off tackle. Shows good burst to get around the end. Gets a good block downfield (by Gantt) and cuts it up inside for extra yards.
1st and 10 at CMU 40 Ace Kirk Cousins pass complete to Blair White for 39 yards to the CMich 1 for a 1ST down. Ace formation with Blair White in the slot and Andrew Hawken lined up like an H-back. Hawken motions to an offset I. White runs a skinny post and blows past the defender and Cousins delivers the ball perfectly. White bobbles it a little but makes the catch and is down at the 1 foot line.
1st and Goal at CMU 1 I formation big Caulton Ray rush for 1 yard for a TOUCHDOWN. Joel Foreman pulls and helps double the DT. Hawken seals the linebacker crashing in from the end, and Ray fights ahead for the yard and the TD.
DRIVE TOTALS: MchSt drive: 5 plays 74 yards, 02:00 MchSt TD     Run/pass 3/2, including 2 passes on first down. Cousins starts 2/2, 51 yards. Very efficient start.
       
Central Michigan at 13:00      
1st and 10 at CMU 32 Shotgun Dan LeFevour pass complete to David Blackburn for 8 yards to the CMich 40. Base 4-3. Sam (Gordon) and Mike (Jones) backers blitz as corners back out. Zone stretch fake, LeFevour pulls it down and throws, just before getting hit, to the H-back who ran the under cross into the flat. Denson (who had dropped back into soft zone coverage) gets juked, misses the tackle, and the receiver picks up an extra five yards.
2nd and 2 at CMU 40 ? Dan LeFevour pass complete to Antonio Brown for 5 yards to the CMich 45 for a 1ST down. We miss the play as ESPN is showing us the CMU Impact Players. Looks like a WR screen with a good block downfield to get the first down.
1st and 10 at CMU 45 Shotgun trips Dan LeFevour pass complete to Antonio Brown for 4 yards to the CMich 49. This time the backers don't crash. Underneath screen to the slot back who just squats in the flat. Jones has the receiver lined up for the tackle for no gain, but the CMU lineman grabs his arm, disrupting Jones enough to let the receiver slip the tackle. Jones slows him down enough for Worthy to get there and make the tackle, but it's another 4 yard gain.
2nd and 6 at CMU 49 Shotgun Dan LeFevour pass incomplete to Kito Poblah. Base 4-3 with the Will covering the slot. Zone stretch fake, but the safeties do a good job of not biting. Lone receiver at top motions in and runs a skinny post; LeFevour just overthrows him. Good coverage anyway by Rucker.
3rd and 6 at CMU 49 Shotgun Dan LeFevour pass complete to Bryan Schroeder for 8 yards to the MchSt 43 for a 1ST down. 4-3 under. Decker and Jones blitz; LeFevour throws the screen to the RB who snuck out into the flat. Jones started outside and cut to the middle; if he had stayed out and hit the RB then the play wouldn't have worked. Looks like CMU is calling the screens to take advantage of our blitzing linebackers.
1st and 10 at MSU 43 Shotgun Dan LeFevour pass incomplete to Antonio Brown. Base 4-3. Jones and Gordon blitz again. This time the D end (Neely) gets around his man and gets his hand up to block the screen.
2nd and 10 at MSU 43 Shotgun quads Dan LeFevour pass complete to Kito Poblah for 10 yards to the MchSt 33 for a 1ST down. Base 4-3 with Denson on the slot and Jones outside the H-back. This is actually trips left with a h-back / tight slot. All three receivers start downfield, outside receiver stretching and taking the corner with him, inside receiver on a hook taking Denson with him. Center receiver sits down in the gap uncovered and LeFevour hits him. Ware and Denson miss tackles, allowing the first down. The MSU defenders are simply outnumbered as there are 3 receivers and only 2 defenders in the area.
1st and 10 at MSU 33 Shotgun trips Dan LeFevour pass incomplete to Antonio Brown. Base 4-3 with Denson on the slot and Jones outside the tackle. Jones and Gordon show blitz, then Gordon backs off. LeFevour rolls left then throws to the out route on the run, but he throws it a bit wide. Hyde was right there and Rucker was closing in fast, and it would have been only a 3 yard gain had the pass been complete.
2nd and 10 at MSU 33 Shotgun Bryan Schroeder rush for 1 yard to the MchSt 32. Zone stretch off tackle goes nowhere. Gordon did a good job of stepping up and hitting the RB. I suspect this is just a "keep the defense honest" play.
3rd and 9 at MSU 32 Shotgun Dan LeFevour pass incomplete to Kito Poblah. 3-3-5 defense here with Jones lined up standing outside the tackle and the corner next to him showing blitz. Jones then puts his hand down before the snap, and the corner sneaks over to cover the slot receiver. Good pressure from the front three as the DT and NG twist while Jones gets outside the tackle, then does a nice spin move to cut back inside. LeFevour has to run to evade the pressure from Strayhorn on the back side and from Jones. LeFevour throws a wobbler on the run; receiver was hit by Ware just as the pass arrived.
4th and 9 at MSU 32 Shotgun Andrew Aguila 49 yard field goal GOOD. 7-3, MSU. CMU moving the ball too easily. LeFevour seems to be getting little pressure, but everything is going from the shotgun and he is taking another 3 step drop, then getting rid of the ball quickly. Several times the D-lineman is getting within 1 or 2 steps of LeFevour and he just gets rid of it. I don't know how much more our D-line could do. I really liked the 3-3-5 alignment with Jones as a stand-up or hand-down rusher; it gives more flexibility and a bit more speed up front.
    Andrew Aguila kickoff for 67 yards returned by Glenn Winston for 38 yards to the MchSt 41. Great return by Winston to get some field position.
DRIVE TOTALS: CMich drive: 11 plays 36 yards, 03:36 CMich FG      
       
Michigan State at 9:24      
1st and 10 at MSU 41 Ace big Kirk Cousins pass complete to Blair White for 3 yards to the MchSt 44. CMU in a 4-3 under with 1 deep safety; the corner and other safety are up on the receivers. Quick screen out to White that's thrown a bit far and he has to stretch out to makes a good catch; unfortunately he has no blockers in front of him and he only gets 3. Had the pass been thrown more accurately he might have been able to put a move on the corner and get a few more yards. Nice tackle by the corner to go low and wrap up White's legs; that's how you do it, boys.
2nd and 7 at MSU 44 I formation Kirk Cousins sacked for a loss of 5 yards to the MchSt 39. 4-3 under. Hawken motions out of the backfield to the slot. Gantt tries to release but is held by the under backer. Cunningham and Hawken run the switch; Cunningham goes on the post and Hawken cuts under where he is open. Cunningham was the first read and Hawken the second; but Deane gets beat by his man and Cousins takes the sack.
3rd and 12 at MSU 39 Shotgun CENTRL MICHIGAN penalty 15 yard pass interference accepted. PA fake; Cousins throws to Cunningham on the crossing route. Cunningham has a CMU defender draped all over him and gets the flag. Replay shows Cousins taking another hit after releasing the ball. He takes several throughout the game without apparent effect. He is tougher than he looks.
1st and 10 at CMU 46 Ace big Caulton Ray rush for 1 yard to the CMich 45. Ace big with Linthicum TE motioning into an Offset I. Foreman and Stipek double the DT and Foreman gets to the second level, but the Mike backer steps up into the hole and cuts inside the pulling Deane while the Sam backer blitzes off the edge. Linthicum picks up the blitzer but is knocked back, closing the hole between Deane and Linthicum where Ray was heading and Ray is forced to cut back into the middle for only a short gain.
2nd and 9 at CMU 45 Shotgun Larry Caper rush for no gain to the CMich 45. This is supposed to be a veer to the right. Cironi pulls and gets through but Brendon Moss whiffs on his block and Caper doesn't / can't cut. The right side of the line (Deane and Moss) are showing their inexperience.
3rd and 9 at CMU 45 Ace Kirk Cousins pass incomplete to Blair White. CMU in a 3-3-5 showing Mike and Will blitz. White is single covered and the CB, showing press, backs out. Playfake freezes the Sam. Cousins has lots of time to throw, Stipek picks up the Mike blitz and Foreman releases from his double to help, though Foreman gets away with one as he pulls the DT's helmet off. Deane and Moss block well to keep the DE and the Will backer out. White gets the safety turned around on the out and post and gets past the double team, but Cousins' throw wobbles at the end and White has to go up and get it. Good play by the corner to knock it out of White's hands as they all hit the ground, although it could have been PI as he was all over White before the ball got there.
4th and 9 at CMU 45   Aaron Bates punt for 35 yards, fair catch by Antonio Brown at the CMich 10.  
DRIVE TOTALS: MchSt drive: 5 plays 14 yards, 03:12 MchSt PUNT      
       
Central Michigan at 6:12      
1st and 10 at CMU 10 Shotgun Bryan Schroeder rush for 3 yards to the CMich 13. Base 4-3 with corners pressing. Zone veer, Jones and Denson read it well and Rolf fights off the double team to fill the gap. RB runs into Rolf, spins off and picks up a couple before Jones knocks him down.
2nd and 7 at CMU 13 Shotgun Bryan Schroeder rush for a loss of 2 yards to the CMich 11. Base 4-3 with corners pressing. Zone stretch, again the LBs read it well and Denson steps up to fill the gap. RB tries to cut inside and finds nothing there as Anderson drives his blocker back, losing his helmet in the process. RB tries to bounce it outside and is snuffed by Jones (who scraped and flowed) and Rucker.
3rd and 9 at CMU 11 Shotgun Trips Dan LeFevour pass incomplete. 3-3-5 with Jones and Denson walking up to the outside. Denson backs out to take the slot and Jones blitzes. The trips run the "3-man weave" and the middle receiver runs the post in the seam between Rucker and gordon. Fortunately, Lefevour's pass is behind the receiver who ran the post in the seam between Rucker and Gordon.
4th and 9 at CMU 11   Brett Hartmann punt for 43 yards, returned by Blair White for 22 yards, fumbled, recovered by MchSt Blair White at the CMich 27. Good return for great field position. White was fortunate to get the fumble back.
DRIVE TOTALS: CMich drive: 3 plays 1 yards, 01:35 CMich PUNT     It appears that the D line, while not getting much in the way of pass rush, is very strong filling the gaps against the run. D backs are getting outnumbered regularly, though, a troubling development that requires a scheme adjustment.
       
Michigan State at 4:37      
1st and 10 at CMU 27 Ace Keshawn Martin rush for 2 yards to the CMich 25. Martin motions in; Cousins hands off to him. Another good tackle by the corner (Bolden) prevents Martin from getting upfield. Are you taking notes, boys?
2nd and 8 at CMU 25 I-formation big Caulton Ray rush for 3 yards to the CMich 22. This play shows how Moss is struggling. Foreman pulls and hits the hole that the Mike linebacker has stepped up into, but Moss is driven sideways into the hole. Pendy has to hesitate and does a good job to bounce outside (he was supposed to lead through and get to the second level). Ray cuts outside, then back in when Pendy seals the outside linebacker, but by then the safety has stepped up and makes the stop.
3rd and 5 at CMU 22 Shotgun trips Kirk Cousins pass incomplete. Cunningham motions from the slot to the center and back, then runs a little out route. White sits down in the zone almost next to him, screening from the safety. Martin stretches vertical and runs a flag, getting a step on the D-back. Cousins throws to Martin who can't hang on. Had Cousings thrown to Cunningham on the out, they would have had a first down. Cousins goes for the home run when he should have taken the single (sorry for the mixed sports metaphor). I believe this is one of the throws he was referring to postgame when he said he wanted a couple back.
4th and 5 at CMU 22   Brett Swenson 39 yard field goal GOOD. Three points is better than none, but not getting the TD is going to bite MSU later.
    Brett Swenson kickoff for 59 yards returned by Antonio Brown for 29 yards to the CMich 40.  
DRIVE TOTALS: MchSt drive: 4 plays 10 yards, 01:24 MchSt FG      
       
Central Michigan at 3:13      
1st and 10 at CMU 40 Shotgun trips empty Dan LeFevour rush for 5 yards to the CMich 45. Base 4-3 but now Denson is on the hash between the slot and the middle receiver. Slot receiver on Twins side motions in and takes the fake handoff and LeFevour pulls it down and takes off outside. Jones reads it and steps up but LeFevour breaks the tackle (!) and gets a couple more before Neely and Denson converge to take him down.
2nd and 5 at CMU 45 Shotgun trips Dan LeFevour pass complete to Bryan Schroeder for 22 yards to the MchSt 33 for a 1ST down. Base 4-3 and again Denson is on the hash between the slot and center receiver. LeFevour throws the RB screen to the short side, Gordon is wiped out with a perfect crackback block, Johnny Adams is blocked and Roderick Jenrette overcommits, running into the back of the blocked Adams and falling down, springing the RB until Robinson can get over and make the tackle. A nicely designed play compounded by Jenrette's mistake.
1st and 10 at MSU 33 Shotgun trips empty Dan LeFevour pass complete to Antonio Brown for 3 yards to the MchSt 30. Base 4-3 and Denson is playing even deeper (5 yards off LOS shaded inside the twins slot). Another screen to the trips slot; Anderson jumps off the cut block and he pursues while Adams shakes the WR block. Anderson and Adams converge and snuff it out for a short gain.
2nd and 7 at MSU 30 Shotgun big Dan LeFevour pass complete to Bryan Anderson for 13 yards to the MchSt 17 for a 1ST down. Base 4-3. Play action draw fake; LeFevour has lots of time to throw and find a receiver who has run a curl inside Ross Weaver who has apparently slipped and fallen down. Weaver recovers in time to make the tackle but it's a first down.
1st and 10 at MSU 17 Shotgun Paris Cotton rush for 7 yards to the MchSt 10. Base 4-3 with Denson outside covering the slot (this is almost like a 4-2-5). Zone stretch handoff to the short side; Gordon steps up and blitzes but the tackle picks him up and seals him inside, opening the edge for the RB. RB spins off Jones's tackle and Jenrette brings him down.
2nd and 3 at MSU 10 Shotgun with H-back Dan LeFevour rush for 1 yard to the MchSt 9. Base 4-3. Zone stretch fake; LeFevour pulls it down and takes off, where he is met by Oren Wilson who has done well to throw off the OG.
3rd and 2 at MSU 9 Shotgun trips Dan LeFevour rush for 3 yards to the MchSt 6 for a 1ST down. Base 4-3 with Denson on the slot. Again this looks more like a 4-2-5 with no linebacker in the middle. Before the play Jones is pointing at LeFevour as though he has sniffed out the QB draw. Both receivers on the short side run in routes, drawing the corner and Gordon into the middle of the field. Rolf fights off his blocker and gets inside; LeFevour pulls it down and goes outside the now-sealed Rolf, and with no corner or LB help, LeFevour gets the edge and dives for the first down.
    End of 1st Quarter

This is a FanPost, written by a member of the TOC community. It does not represent the official positions of The Only Colors, Inc.--largely because we have no official positions.