Syracuse won the game on Saturday against Boston College on a throwback play that worked to perfection. Why did it work so well and how did the Orange execute it? I went back to rewatch the play and break it down.
They key to this play was set up throughout the game. Syracuse lined up with three wide on the right side of the formation (left side of the picture below). When the Orange came out in this formation earlier, Hunt would often roll out towards the three receivers. All of the action went that way, with no backside option.
As you can see, Syracuse lined up the exact same way with just 12 seconds left and needing a touchdown to win the game. Hunt lines up five yards behind center. Rob Trudo and Michael Lasker are the left guard and tackle, with Josh Parris lined up as the tight end at the end of the line. They key is for Trudo, Lasker and Parris to all act like t hey want to block. The defensive end lined up across from Parris will bull rush, while the tackle lined up over Macky MacPherson will crash hard to his right.
This is where the play gets a little busy with a lot of action. Trudo and Lasker are double teaming the tackle, while Parris is engaging the defensive end while he is about to release. Hunt is sprinting to his right (left in the picture). The two Eagles' linebackers have a chance to be disruptive on this play, but both follow the action of Hunt because of what Syracuse has done earlier in the game. They both sprint to their left, as does the safety standing near the goal line as he keeps an eye on the Syracuse receivers off of the picture.
Parris has now released the defensive end who believes the block was simply missed. Lasker and Trudo also release their tackle and sprint downfield to become lead blockers for Parris. The Boston College linebacker on the right of the picture is hard sprinting to his left, while the other one is starting to rush Hunt. Ivan Foy is there to pick him up. All of this action leaves the right side of the field nearly vacant, except for defensive back C.J. Jones.
When Hunt throws the ball across the field, suddenly the Eagles' defenders start to realize what is happening. Parris is already starting to run forward as he awaits the ball. Lasker is downfield at the five, ready to engage Jones. He dives at Jones' feet, bumping him just enough to prevent him from making a play on Parris. Other than Jones, there is a wide open path to the end zone, with Rob Trudo trailing Lasker just in case.
One more Eagle has a small shot at Parris, defensive tackle Jaryd Rudolph. The same tackle who line up over MacPherson and was released by Lasker and Trudo earlier in the play. But he is not fast enough getting to Parris, who gets into the end zone with ease.
A gutsy play call, executed well, but set up brilliantly throughout the game. Gutsy because if Parris is tackled before he gets to the end zone, which could happen if just one Eagle defender catches on to Parris' action, the game is over. Instead, George McDonald used the Eagles' defensive aggression against them to help Syracuse become bowl eligible.