Armchair Quarterback: UCLA (Full Game)

Film Breakdown of Each Pass Play Against the Bruins

It's time for your weekly Armchair Quarterback session.

14:27 1Q / 2nd and 5 / Utah 18 / Wilson – Incompletion to Scott
Formation: Spread Base / 2 WR to near side, 1 WR & TE to far side

UCLA lines in up in what appears to be a 4-2-5, but bring Myles Jack down near the LOS and rush 5 defenders, with Cover 1 man to man in the secondary. Utah’s offensive line picks up the rush wonderfully and gives Wilson plenty of time, although he doesn’t need it as it’s a quick pass. Kenneth Scott is the receiver at the top of the formation and just runs a simple quick slant and is able to get inside the corner. Wilson delivers a perfect ball that leads Scott even further away from the corner, but it goes right through Scott’s hands. Perfect pass that would’ve resulted in 10 yards and a first down had it not been dropped.



Decision: Correct Throw: A

14:21 / 3rd and 5 / Utah 18 / Wilson – 3 yard Completion to Scott
Formation: Spread Base / 2 WR to near side, 1 WR & TE to far side

UCLA stays in their 4-2-5, but bring Jack and a corner back on a blitz at the snap, totaling 6 rushers. Utah only has 5 to block, as Booker leaves the backfield on route, and the first read appears to be Booker in the flats. Tonga and Scott run towards the middle of the field which would’ve left Booker one on one with a safety after making the catch, but Myles Jacks makes a great play that prevents the pass from getting to Booker. Even though he’s rushing, Jack recognizes Booker leaving the backfield and gives him a nice pop, which disrupts the timing of the play and allows the corner to get to Wilson. Wilson manages to slip out of the corners attempted tackle and scrambles to his right and looks like he wants to run the ball, but wisely dumps it off to Scott on the sideline, but Scott is forced out of bounds 2 yards short of the first down. Had Myles Jack not hit Booker, Utah likely would have had a first down, but Wilson did a good job of breaking out of a sack and getting something little out of nothing.

Decision: Correct Throw: B

11:37 1Q / 2nd and 9 / Utah 38 / Wilson – 2 yard Completion to Booker
Formation: Spread Trips Right / 2 WR‘s & TE to far side, 1 WR to near side

UCLA stays in the 4-2-5 and are playing off coverage on the receivers by about 5 yards. Now, my only explanation for this play is that Wilson must have though the UCLA defense was in man to man, as he immediately looks to Booker coming out of the backfield on a shallow swing route. The UCLA defense isn’t in man coverage though, so the corner makes an easy tackle for a gain of two. UCLA only rushes 4 at the snap and appear to drop in to straight Cover 2 defense. The initial pocket that’s set up by the offensive line is good, so Wilson would have had time to go through more several reads. My opinion is that Wilson read the defense incorrectly, which led to the short quick pass, when he should have taken his time to go through his other reads.

Decision: Incorrect Throw: B

10:56 1Q / 3rd and 7 / Utah 40 / Wilson – Incompletion to Tonga
Formation: Spread Base / 1 WR & TE tight to far side, 2 WR’s to near side

UCLA dials up the pressure on the 3rd down and long situation and bring 5 defenders on a pass rush, with Cover 1 man to man in the secondary. Utah looks to be trying to set up a tunnel screen to Patrick on the near side but the pressure gets to Wilson before it can be properly set up. Wilson makes a good decision and tries to hit Tonga on a slant route over the middle, who is one on one with the noticeably smaller safety Ishmael Adams. Tonga has inside leverage on Adams but the ball is thrown too far out in front of him and he’s only able to get about half of a hand on the ball.



Decision: Correct Throw: D

8:05 1Q / 1st and 10 / Utah 8 / Wilson – Scramble for no gain
Formation: Spread Base / 1 WR & TE tight to near side, 2 WR’s to far side

UCLA runs Cover 1 man to man again, but only rush 4 defenders. Utah tries for quick slant to either Kaelin Clay or Kenneth Scott, but both are well covered. Wilson appears to look to Scott first, than Clay, and then decides to try and pick something up with his feet. By the time he makes that decision the pocket has collapsed on top of him. Wilson is wrapped up, but amazingly is able to drag a defender for 4 yards back to the LOS, and avoids losing any yards. Not a good play, but it could’ve been much worse had Wilson thrown the ball to Scott as it’s very possible the corner would’ve been able to jump the route for an interception, as he had great coverage.

Decision: Correct Throw: N/A

7: 26 1Q / 2nd and 10 / Utah 8 / Wilson – Incomplete to Clay
Formation: Spread Trips Right TE Tight / 2 WR’s & TE tight to far side, 1 WR to near side

UCLA shows blitz with Myles Jack and bring him at the snap, totaling 5 defenders rushing the passer. The play call is good as it’s a roll out pass that rolls away from the pressure, and the O Line and Devontae Booker do a good job blocking. Kaelin Clay is the inside receiver to the far side of the field and is facing man coverage from a nickel back, who’s playing off about 7 yards. Dres Anderson doesn’t even really run a route, as he’s essentially setting a pick for Clay who runs a simple 3 yard out. The pick works and Clay is open in the flats for what looks like will be at least a 5 yard gain. Wilson makes a good throw on the run putting the ball out in front of Clay, but Clay is unable to make the catch. It wasn’t a perfect pass, but it was plenty good enough to be caught, and the play would’ve resulted in a 3rd and short, rather than 3rd and 10. This would end up being Wilson’s last pass of the game.



Decision: Correct Throw: B

2:00 1Q / 1st and 10 / Utah 13 / Thompson – Scramble for 12 yards
Formation: Spread Base / 1 WR & TE to far side, 2 WR’s to near side

Before the snap, Kaelin Clay motions from the near side to the far side essentially giving Utah a trips formation, and Utah runs a play action roll out for Thompson. UCLA is showing Cover 2 man to man coverage, as the nickel back followed Clay in motion, and they bring 4 rushers at the snap. Utah is actually trying to set up a deep pass to either Dres or Tonga, as Dres appears to run a streak and Tonga runs a 10 yard out. Both routes are well covered, and Clay is kind of just sitting in the flats as a safety valve. Thompson rolls to his right and has LG Isaac Asiata out in front of him pass blocking, with one defender in front of them. Thompson goes through both his progressions on the play before deciding to take off and run. Before he does though, he does a great job of setting his feet which forces the defender to come after him, and then runs right around him. That stop and start quickness is what he brings to the table. Thompson is then able out run the LB’s to the sideline and is pulled down after a 12 yard gain.

Decision: Correct Throw: N/A

0:53 1Q / 2nd and 7 / Utah 27 / Thompson – 7 yard Completion to Clay
Formation: Spread Trips Left TE Tight / 2 WR’s & TE Tight to far side, 1 WR to near side

This is the same roll out pass that Utah ran earlier with Wilson that was dropped by Clay, and it sets up perfectly again, but Clay is able to make the catch for nice gain this time. Kenneth Scott runs a good “pick” route, and the nickel back with man coverage on Clay isn’t able to get to him before making the catch. Thompson rolls to his left, has good protection and delivers a perfect pass. Clay is able to get near the first down line before being forced out of bounds.



Decision: Correct Throw: A

13:54 2Q / 2nd and 10 / UCLA 42 / Thompson – 42 yard Touchdown to Dres
Formation: Spread Trips Left TE Tight / 2 WR & TE offset of tackle to far side, 1 WR to near side

After running the ball on five straight plays, successfully, Utah breaks out the play action pass for a big play. Thompson fakes the handoff to his left to Booker, and Tonga snakes out of the backfield in to the flat in front of Thompson. Dres, the receiver to the near side, is running a simple streak route. If the deep route isn’t there, then Thompson can either dump off to Tonga or run the ball. Thompson sees that Dres has beat the corner and has a good 2 yard lead on him, so he sets his feet and throws deep. Dres has a good enough lead that if the ball is place just out in front of him it’s an easy catch for the TD, but Thompson fails to do that as he just puts too much air on the ball. This allows time for the corner to catch up to Dres, as well as the safety to come over to try and make a play for the ball. Neither player can do that though, as Dres times his jump perfectly and is able to get his hands on the ball first, and ends up securing the ball after juggling it for a second. Great play by Dres to 1. Beat the corner, and 2. Catch the ball in traffic. Kendal made the correct decision, but certainly could’ve helped out his receiver by not putting so much air on the ball.





Decision: Correct Throw: C

9:57 2Q / 2nd and 4 / Utah 30 / Thompson – 3 yard Completion to Clay
Formation: Spread Stacks / 1 WR & TE stacked to far side, 2 WR’s stacked to near side

UCLA is still in a 4-2-5 with 2 high safeties, and they show a nickel blitz before the snap and 7 defenders in the box. That leaves one corner on each side of the field lined up directly over the stacked receivers. Thompson recognizes this and throws a quick screen to Clay to the near side who is stacked behind Scott. At the snap, MLB Eric Kendricks leaves the box to cover the vacated area by the nickel back towards the far side of the field which means UCLA is in Cover 2 man to man defense. Scott does a good job of engaging the corner and pushes him towards the sideline. Clay doesn’t recognize that though as he tries to run outside of the corner, but is cut off and forced back in. This gives time for LB Myles Jack to get to Clay and bring him down for a short gain. Had Clay not tried to go outside it likely would’ve been a 5-7 yard gain.

Decision: Correct Throw: A

9:02 2Q / 1st and 10 / Utah 42 / Thompson – 5 yard Completion to Booker
Formation: Spread Trips Left / 2 WR’s & 1 TE far side, 1 WR to near side

UCLA pressures with 4 defenders and are running Cover 3 in the secondary. The play is designed for a short, quick throw to the right side, so the right side of the O Line chop blocks their man. Dres is the receiver to the right and runs a 5 yard hitch, but is quickly covered by Myles Jack, who has coverage in the flats. This leaves Booker by himself on a swing route, so Thompson dumps it off to him after seeing that Dres is well covered. Booker makes a cut to the inside and picks up a solid 5 yards on 1st down.



Decision: Correct Throw: A

8:37 2Q / 2nd and 4 / Utah 47 / Thompson – Scramble for 1 yard
Formation: Spread Trips Left TE Tight/ 2 WR’s & TE offset of tackle to far side, 1 WR to near side

This is a hard play to diagnose without knowing exactly what the play call. On the snap, the offensive line run blocks and it looks like and ordinary read option. Tonga comes from the backside of the play to block the LB as well, making it look even more like a run play, but it’s not. Dres is the receiver to the near side and he takes an outside release and runs a small “option” route just 5 yards past the LOS. The corner over top of Dres sits in the flats, indicating Cover 2, so Thompson thinks he can get the ball quickly to Dres just over the top of the corner. Thompson pulls the ball and looks Dres’ way to throw it, but the safety quickly converges on the short route so the throw isn’t there. Because the line is run blocking, the pressure quickly gets to Thompson and he tries to go inside of the defensive end to scramble, but is wrapped up and taken down for what ends up being a 1 yard gain. The best conclusion I can draw from the play is that Thompson and Dres had the option to run the pass play if they saw the corner sitting in Cover 2. They did just that, but the safety makes a good play of getting to Dres before the pass can be thrown. With where the safety was positioned before the snap, the ball probably should’ve been handed off to Booker.



Decision: Incorrect Throw: N/A

2:54 2Q / 2nd and 3 / Utah 28 / Thompson – Scramble for 9 yards
Formation: Spread Trips Left TE Tight / 2 WR’s & TE tight to far side, 1 WR to near side

UCLA brings a corner blitz at the snap along with the 4 down linemen. Thompson looks to his left at the snap but has very little time to make any reads. It looks like he makes one read, and then just as he turns to look at Tonga over the middle, the defensive end is in his face and forces him to scramble out of the pocket to his left. Once he starts scrambling he doesn’t stop as there lots of green grass ahead of him and he’s able to out run the DL to sideline for a 9 yard gain. Good job of getting out of the pocket quickly after the pass protection broke down early.

Decision: Correct Throw: N/A

2:35 2Q / 1st and 10 / Utah 37 / Thompson – 8 yard Completion to Booker
Formation: Spread Trips Right / 2 WR’s & TE to far side, 1 WR to near side

Utah tries to set a screen on this play to Devontae Booker, but the UCLA DT does a good job of recognizing the screen and stops his pass rush in order to cover it. Because the screen is covered, the pass rush is given time to get to Thompson. Thompson is able to scramble to his left around the defensive end and does a good job of keeping his eyes downfield. Devontae Booker also does a great job on this play as he reverses field when he see Thompson scrambling and become an open receiver. Thompson sees Booker coming across the middle and makes a good throw across his body. The throw could have been better, as Booker was forced to catch it just above the ground, but it was also put in a spot that the UCLA LB couldn’t get to. Good effort by both Thompson and Booker to keep the broken play alive.

Decision: Correct Throw: B

4:50 2Q / 1st and 10 / Utah 48/ Thompson – Sacked for a loss of 3 yards
Formation: Spread Base / 2 WR’s to near side, 1 WR & TE to far side

Kaelin Clay is motioned from the near side to the far side of the field before the snap and UCLA brings yet another corner blitz. Utah runs a play action fake to Booker with Thompson looking to his right where he has trips receivers. The blitzing corner recognizes the play fake and stops his blitz early, but Isaac Asiata is also out there to prevent him from getting to Thompson. Thompson looks like panics a bit when he sees the corner, and instead of recognizing that he has time to go through his reads, he pulls the ball down and tries to run. By the time that happens, the pass protection has broken down and Owamagbe Odighizuwa is able to bring down Thompson before he can make anything happen. This was a play where Thompson unnecessarily tried to run. With Asiata out in front of him he had time to go through his progressions.

Decision: Incorrect Throw: N/A

0:39 2Q / 2nd and 8 / UCLA 35 / Thompson – Completion to Dres for a loss of 4 yards
Formation: Spread Stacks / 1 WR & TE stacked to near side, 2 WR’s stacked to far side

UCLA combats the stacked receiver formations with one corner up in the face of the receiver, and either a safety or nickel back playing inside shade of the receivers about 10 yards off the ball. Utah likes their personnel against this defensive formation and throws a quick receiver screen out to Dres on the near side. If Tonga holds his block, Dres will have one on one with a safety, but Tonga isn’t able to hold his block. The corner beats Tonga to the outside and is able to wrap up Dres by the legs.

Decision: Correct Throw: A

0:14 2Q / 3rd and 12 / UCLA 38 / Thompson – 7 yard Completion to Clay
Formation: Spread Trips Left TE Tight / 2 WR’s & TE tight to far side, 1 WR to near side

UCLA brings another corner blitz but it’s coming from the backside, and Utah is rolling Thompson away from the pressure. Kaelin Clay is the middle receiver in the trips formation and is facing off man coverage from the nickel back. Utah goes with the “pick” route that they’ve already ran a couple times in this game, so Kenneth Scott comes from the outside and sits his route down right in front of the nickel back, and Clay goes underneath Scott on a 5 yard out. It’s the perfect play call because Scott is able to pick Clay’s defender, and the corner over the top of Scott is too far off the ball to make a play on the ball before Clay can catch it. Thompson rolls to his left and throws the ball a little late in my opinion. Clay was open much earlier than Thompson threw it, and it could’ve lead to some more yards. Regardless, Thompson makes a good throw and Clay reels it in for a 7 yard gain, which makes the ensuing field goal attempt much easier for Andy Phillips.

Decision: Correct Throw: A

12:00 3Q / 1st and 10 / Utah 28 / Thompson – 15 yard Completion to Clay
Formation: Trips Right / 2 WR’s & TE to far side, 1 WR to near side

The first offensive play of the second half is a beautifully executed bubble screen to Kaelin Clay out of the trips formation. UCLA lines up in a 4-2-5 but are playing Cover 2 man to man with two high safeties. Because of this alignment, there’s no defender directly lined up over Clay, just the two outside receivers. Thompson takes the snap, gives a quick fake to Booker, and makes a quick throw out to Clay and it’s right on target. Dres Anderson and Westlee Tonga do a great job of locking up their defenders that are line up right over top of them, and Clay is able to pick up 15 yards before being pushed out of bounds by the nickel back and safety.



Decision: Correct Throw: A

11:41 3Q / 1st and 10 / Utah 43 / Thompson – Sack for a loss of 7 yards
Formation: Spread Trips Left / 2 WR’s & TE to far side, 1 WR to near side

UCLA stays in the 4-2-5 and look like they’ll be in Cover 1 man to man, as they bring up a safety that lines up in the slot over Tonga. They do run Cover 1 man to man, but the safety in the slot comes on a blitz and the middle linebacker picks up Tonga in coverage. Because of the blitz, Poutasi lets his man go to the inside and he goes outside to pick it up. Center Siaosi Aiono sees this and starts heading the way of the running free defensive end. Aiono is tasked to pick up the defensive end because LG Junior Salt is cutting the defensive tackle over the top of him. The offensive line should have been able to pick up the blitz as they had a lineman for every rusher, but Salt fails to cut the defensive tackle and Aiono is left trying to block both the defensive end and the defensive tackle. Utah looks like they were trying to throw a quick hitch to Dres on the near side for about 5 yards, but right as Dres makes his break the defensive end has gotten to Thompson and he’s forced to pull the ball down and scramble. Thompson eludes the defensive end by climbing the pocket, but is then dropped by the blitzing safety who eventually gets to the pocket after being initially blocked by Poutasi. Had Salt successfully cut the defensive tackle, the play would have been fine, but Thompson really had no shot at making a play on this one.

Decision: N/A Throw: N/A

5:45 3Q / 1st and 10 / Utah 25 / Thompson – Scramble for 5 yards
Formation: Spread Trips Left / 2 WR’s & TE to far side, 1 WR to near side

UCLA teases with a safety blitz before the snap, but fall back and only rush 4 at the snap with straight Cover 2 in the secondary. The offensive line handles the front four well, and Thompson’s first read is to his right to Dres, who’s running a slant/hitch option, but it’s well covered. Thompson then turns to his left for his second read and sees a wide open lane and plenty of green grass ahead of him. Seeing this he decides to take off running, which is the correct decision. Thompson has Kaelin Clay out to his left on the sideline, but pump fakes to him and keeps the ball himself. Thompson ends up gaining 5 yards on the run, but could’ve possibly gotten 8-10 had he dumped it off to Clay, although there was a corner pretty close by. Keeping the ball was definitely the safe play.

Decision: Correct Throw: N/A

3:07 3Q / 2nd and 4 / UCLA 34/ Thompson – 6 yard Completion to Delshawn McClellon
Formation: Spread Base / 1 WR & TE offset of tackle to near side, 2 WR’s to far side

This is one of the new wrinkles in the Ute offense with Thompson at QB, as Utah runs basically a triple option. On the snap, Tonga pulls from the right to the left to act as a lead blocker for Thompson. Thompson has the choice to give the ball to Booker, keep the ball and run, or keep the ball and throw to McClellon out in the flats on basically a screen pass. UCLA lines up in their standard 4-2-5, but the nickel back over the top of McClellon comes on a blitz. Thompson sees both the nickel back blitzing, and the defensive end crashing down, so he pulls the ball and makes a quick, easy pass out to McClellon, with Tim Patrick blocking the defender over top of him. McClellon makes the catch and is able to gain 6 yards.



Decision: Correct Throw: B

1:15 2Q / 1st and 15 / UCLA 21 / Thompson – 8 yard Completion to Clay
Formation: Trips Left TE Tight / 2 WR’s & TE tight to far side, 1 WR to near side

UCLA lines up with 5 defenders right at the LOS and bring all 5, leaving Cover 2 man to man in the secondary. Utah picks up the pressure well as the roll out Thompson to his left, and are one again running the pick route to Clay that has worked 3 times already in the game. It’s the same play but isn’t run exactly the same as the times previously. The man lined up over Clay in the slot is playing about 7 yards off the ball, and Scott has a defender playing bump coverage on him. Scott adjusts his route and just runs straight in to his man and finishes it off with a hitch route, which avoids an offensive pass interference call. Clay again runs a short out route right underneath of Scott and Thompson makes an on time delivery. Because the nickel back over the top of Clay is so far off the ball he never is able to make a play, but the corner over the top of Scott does a good job of shedding Scott and making the tackle for just a medium sized gain. Had he not, Clay would’ve had a much bigger play.

Decision: Correct Throw: A

13:35 4Q / 2nd and 10 / Utah 43 / Thompson – Incomplete to Clay
Formation: Spread Trips Right TE Tight / 2 WR’s & TE offset of tackle to far side, 1 WR to near side

This play may be the biggest “what if” play for the Utes entire game. UCLA lines up 5 defenders in the box and bring all 5 at the snap, except for when Myles Jacks stops his blitz and picks up Tonga coming out of the backfield on a route. Thompson fakes a handoff to his right to Booker and then rolls to his left. Tonga is running a snake route from out of the backfield, and Kaelin Clay is running a crossing route from the middle of the trips formation about 10 yards deep over the middle. 3 defenders pick up Tonga on his route which leaves Clay wide open about 10 yards behind him. Thompson sees this and delivers an absolutely perfect ball, but it goes right through Clays hands. Clay would’ve had the first down and probably would’ve been able to pick up an additional 10 yards on the play, which puts Utah in to field goal range. Instead it’s 3rd down and the Utes would punt the play after.



Decision: Correct Throw: A

13:28 4Q / 3rd and 10 / Utah 43 / Thompson – Scramble for 7 yards
Formation: Spread Trips Right TE Tight / 2 WR’s & TE tight to far side, 1 WR to near side

UCLA brings pressure with 4 linemen and a blitzing corner from the near side of the field, and it’s initially picked up very well, but a twisting defensive tackle is able to hit Junior Salt’s hands away and has a free run at Thompson, who begins to drift to his left. Thompson sets his feet, trying to throw a pass to Scott running a drag route from left to right, but the pressure gets to him too quickly and he starts climbing the pocket to his right. Once Thompson starts climbing the pocket he doesn’t stop, and he’s able to stay on his feet after almost being tripped up by a UCLA player, and turns a negative play in to a 7 yard run.

Decision: Correct Throw: N/A

10:30 4Q / 3rd and 8 / Utah 38 / Thompson – Incomplete to Scott
Formation: Quads Right TE Tight / 3 WR’s & TE tight to far side

At the snap, Thompson rolls to his right with Devontae Booker & Westlee Tonga providing pass protection. Clay, the slot receiver, runs a 5 yard out. Scott, the middle receiver, runs a 10 yard corner and Dres, the outside receiver, runs a streak. UCLA is running Cover 2 man to man with 2 high safeties in the secondary. Thompson rolls to his right and sees that Dres is covered well deep, but then sees that Scott has outside leverage on his man and will break free when he makes his cut. This is the case as the nickel back and safety to the far side of the field are slightly behind Scott when he makes his cut, and Thompson puts the ball where only Scott can catch it. It’s hard to say why, but Scott doesn’t get his right hand up quick enough and only gets his left hand on the ball, which results in an incompletion. The ball should have been caught, but it’s yet another dropped pass that would’ve resulted in a first down.



Decision: Correct Throw: A

7:39 4Q / 2nd and 7 / UCLA 32 / Thompson – Sacked for a loss of 2 yards
Formation: Trips Left TE Tight / 2 WR’s & TE tight to far side, 1 WR to near side

Here, Utah tries again to run that “pick” route that has worked 4 times before. Devontae Booker and Westlee Tonga stay in to block as Thompson rolls to his left, and the play looks like it will again work based off the pre snap alignment of the defense. That’s not the case though, as UCLA is running base Cover 2 and the far side corner sits on the out route by Clay, and the nickel back has Tim Patrick guarded well on the hitch route towards the middle of the field. Thompson sees that Clay is guarded, and then sees that Patrick is guarded, so he continues his roll. A blitzing linebacker finds a lane directly to Thompson and takes it, thinking he has an easy sack. Thompson side steps the LB, but slightly loses his balance and is brought down by Deon Hollins, who was the weak side defensive end on the play. Hollins beat Dielman with a speed rush to the outside and kept on hustling towards Thompson for the sack. Had Dielman been able to block Hollins, Thompson would’ve been able to scramble for quite a bit of yards after sidestepping the linebacker.

Decision: Correct Throw: A

Full Game Totals

Thompson
Decisions: 17 Correct, 2 Incorrect, 1 N/A
Throws: 10 A's, 2 B's, 1 C, 7 N/A’s

Wilson
Decisions: 5 Correct, 1 Incorrect
Throws: 1 A, 3 B's, 1 D, 1 N/A


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