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Snap Counts: Take a Bow Offensive Line

The PSU offensive line played like it was 1994.

Big Ten Championship - Penn State v Wisconsin Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images
playin the foosball

On Offense

  • Take a bow, Saeed Blacknall. 6 for 155 yards and 2 TDs on 27 snaps - that’s efficiency.

On Defense

  • Marcus Allen. Wow.

Dateline: 1994

The offensive line played incredible football. As a quick reminder, Wisconsin ran an “odd-man” front - a rare thing in college football. Wisconsin had an impressive “havoc rate”, and buried opponents with tons of strange, rarely seen blitzes on passing downs. TJ Watt, Vince Biegel at OLB/DE were really good pass rushers. Watt put up 10.5 sacks on the year, and it wasn’t an accident. Wisconsin also frequently sent one or both ILBs on delayed A-gap blitzes - something that absolutely destroyed us last year at Temple, if you don’t remember / purposely forgot.

Knowing all of those things, and also knowing that injuries forced us into playing two guards at OT - LG Ryan Bates and reserve RG Chaz Wright - the hope was that “the Wizard” Trace McSorley would use his feet to make a few plays.

McSorley had a whale of a game, of course. But it wasn’t due to his feet. Turns out he didn’t really need them all that much. Let’s look at the video tape.

Here’s Bates stoning Vince Biegel, and Wright stuffing TJ Watt. RG Connor McGovern and LG Steven Gonzalez, both freshmen, likewise do well against their two Badger opponents, giving McSorley a nice pocket with a clean lane to step up.

The great protection wasn’t a once or twice thing. Here’s the TD pass to Gesicki in the first quarter. Saquon Barkley releases to the right flat, taking Watt with him. Chaz Wright, with no one to block, finds someone to block. Bates and Gonzalez, with an assist from OC Brian Gaia, handle an E-T stunt with ease. That’s right - with. ease. Count the seconds McSorley has in an ultra clean pocket to launch the bomb to Gesicki.

Not sure how many seconds that was really? Well here’s another one. This gif was electronically set to 4 seconds. Thus, the number of the counting shall be 4. I particularly like Ryan Bates’ snap down on Watt/Biegel (can’t tell which). Would love to see Bates wrestling in Rec Hall with a snap down like that.

I couldn’t stop making gifs. Here’s 350-lb, too-slow-to-play-tackle Chaz Wright handling Biegel’s speed rush.

One thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three...

And again

This one (below) is a 5-second gif. Five. Seconds.

Here’s a 4-second gif.

And another.

And another.

How? How is this possible? What black magic is this? This 14-second gif below helps explain things a bit, as they handle the goal-to-go safety blitz, and finish the drive to tie the game.

Wisconsin, friends, is a heckuva defense. They’re really excellent. They’re smart, fast, tough, and a difficult matchup.

They got 1 sack for 7 yards. Against our 4th and 5th offensive tackles, who actually spent the first 4 months of the season playing guard.


I’ll be even more surprised if Joe Moorhead and Matt Limegrover ever have to pay for another meal downtown.