One of the most exciting plays from a Syracuse perspective in Saturday's game against LSU was a fake field goal in the second quarter that saw Riley Dixon leap over Kevin Toliver to get the first down. We break down that play in our weekly film review.
This looks to the naked eye like a traditional field goal formation. For Syracuse, this generally calls for Dixon to be the holder with Cole Murphy as the kicker. However, in this instance, Dixon lined up as the kicker and Ryan Norton as the holder. This should have tipped LSU off that something out of the ordinary was going on, but this did not seem to be the case as they were caught off guard by the fake. As you can see in the picture above, Syracuse has three primary players go out as if they are running routes like wide receivers. The one on the right side of the picture, second in along the line, runs straight out at the snap. This causes LSU defenders Lamar Louis (#11) and Kendell Beckwith (#52) to both follow that action. Duke Riley (#40) follows the second player in along the Syracuse line on the left side of the picture, while Kevin Toliver (#2) follows the SU player on the far left of the line in the picture. Keep an eye on Jamal Adams (#33), who initially hesitates, then darts to his left, bumping into Riley.
Here you can see more of that action. Toliver is completely focused on his man, as is Riley. Circled is Adams, though he is shielded by the official. He immediately recognizes the fake and heads in the direction that Dixon is running towards. Louis and Beckwith are both focused on their man, taking them out of the play. The line does a great job blocking as if it is a regular field goal, sucking the LSU defensive line into a clogged middle. This opens up the outside for Dixon as Norton flips him the ball. The action to draw Riley towards the middle of the field in order to cover a receiver completely open up the right side of the field (left side of the picture).
Dixon now has the ball in the picture above, and you can see Adams running into Riley in the circle in the middle. To the far left, Toliver is completely focused on his man, and does not yet see Dixon running with the ball. The only player on LSU that seems to have an immediate recognition of not only the fake but how Syracuse is executing the fake is Adams. However, the route brings Riley into his path and the two bump into each other, slowing Adams path to try to stop Dixon.
Toliver finally gets his head around and sees Dixon coming towards him. This side of the field is completely open, other than Toliver, giving Dixon a lot of room to run. You can see Adams attempting to recover from his collision with Riley.
Toliver has now shed his blocker and is standing right at the line to gain for a first down. Adams has nearly fully recovered to get in position to help Toliver, but is too far downfield and has a blocker in his path now. Dixon, seeing Toliver, is bracing for his next move.
Dixon, rather than trying to run through or around Toliver, decides the best path is to run over Toliver. He lands just inside the 25-yard line, enough for a first down. The leap was critical in picking up enough yardage. Toliver ducks just enough in the first of two consecutive pictures above to allow Dixon the opportunity to hurdle him. He extends his leg and get over Toliver's helmet.
This play really got Syracuse and the crowd fired up. After hanging with LSU throughout the entire first half, the Orange had to feel good about themselves going into the locker room. Unfortunately, Murphy missed a short field goal as time expired. Still, it was a great call that was executed well by the Orange.
You can watch full video of the play HERE.