Anatomy of the play: Bubble Screen TD

CuseNation.com breaks down the film to see why Maryland 90-yard bubble screen against Syracuse on Saturday was so successful.

One of the key plays in Syracuse’s 34-20 loss to Maryland was a 90-yard bubble screen touchdown by Brandon Ross. Here’s a look at how the Orange fell victim to the play.

Syracuse lines up in their base defense and are prepared to bring pressure. Maryland has three receivers lined up at the bottom of the screen. Quarterback C.J. Brown is in the pistol. Dyshawn Davis (circled below) would normally be responsible for one of the three receivers, but blitzes on this play. Cameron Lynch also blitzes as Syracuse expected a run.

Running back Brandon Ross catches Brown’s offering, and now has two blockers out in front. At the top is receiver Stefon Diggs who dives at Durell Eskridge’s legs, taking him out of the play. Receiver Marcus Leak, at the bottom, blocks Wayne Morgan to open up the lane for Ross.

With a huge lane in front of Ross, Syracuse has two chances to make the play. Morgan has to shed Leak’s block in order to get to Ross or Ritch Desir (on the far right of the picture below) has to take a proper angle to cut off Ross after he gets through the hole.

Desir takes a poor angle and gets spun around as he bumps into the Diggs block on Eskridge (circled below). Morgan arrives a step too late and Ross is off to the races. Lynch tries but can’t catch Ross from behind.

The score put Maryland up 14-3. Syracuse had plenty of changes to take control of the game after that, but it was an example of how lack of execution (Desir taking the wrong angle and Morgan not getting off a block) can lead to big plays for the opposition. There was also a bit of luck involved with the play call, as Syracuse was blitzing putting fewer players in coverage to defend the screen.


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