PSU PLAYBOOK: Norwood's TD Spark

Check out a breakdown of the play that ignited the Nittany Lions' blowout of Syracuse in this edition of our exclusive PSU Playbook series.

Penn State fans were a bit on edge at the outset of the Nittany Lions' road game against Syracuse Saturday.

On the initial drive, quarterback Daryll Clark coughed up a fumble, giving the Orange great field position and energizing the Syracuse fans.

However, the momentum shift was short-lived, as PSU managed to recover a lateral pass that was bumbled on Syracuse's first snap.

After the initial offensive setback, Clark and company elected to ignite the offense with a shot down-field. Penn State's offense used some misdirection and motion, a staple of the "Spread HD" scheme, to pull wide the SU defense and open up some space for the wideouts.

You can see the play at the 37 second point of this video:

Norwood 55-yard Touchdown (37 second mark)

The offense lined up in a single-back set, trips left (three wideouts to the left side of the formation) with Clark directly under center.

Before the snap, Deon Butler shifts from left to right of the formation. This shift does two things for the Penn State offense: first, it draws over the linebackers slightly, just enough to pull them a bit off the left zone of the formation, giving a little bit of space; and second, it draws a defensive back over to cover Butler, forcing single coverage of Jordan Norwood.

Upon the snap, Clark fakes to running back Evan Royster, which freezes the linebackers for a moment as they anticipate a running play. At the same time, Butler runs a crossing route from right to left of the PSU formation, forcing the linebackers to pay attention to him as he crosses their zones.

At this stage the offensive line is giving Clark excellent protection as he rolls left with a lot of time and space. Receiver Derrick Williams, from an inside position, runs an out post pattern, keeping the safety with him. Norwood, who is in single coverage, blows by his assignment.

At this stage he has a good amount of space between himself and the defender, but instinctively stops, catches the ball, allowing the corner, who is playing catch-up, to run by him. Norwood cuts right to the wide side of the field.

At this stage, Butler has completed his crossing route and is in position to help Norwood by laying a block on his defender, which blows open a lane for Norwood to hit. Norwood then slips past a trailing defender, streaking into the end zone untouched, putting Penn State up 7-0 on its way to its third win of the season.

The score was the start of a flurry of offensive output on the way to Penn State simply crushing the Orange. Butler and Norwood both ended the day with a pair of touchdowns and both were instrumental in creating the initial spark that ignited the offense. is simply THE best source for exclusive, inside coverage of Penn State football.


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