We’re gonna be taking a look at a few plays over the next few days that changed the momentum of games. Today, we’re going to break down the 75-yard touchdown pass from Alabama’s Blake Sims to receiver Amari Cooper in the third quarter against Auburn. This play, in my opinion, changed the confidence level of Blake Sims and changed the entire momentum of the game.

Ok, so it’s first-and-10 here. Auburn is up 36-27 with 3:30 left in the third quarter. Blake Sims has thrown three interceptions already and the Bama defense is has been getting scorched. They were in desperate need of a game-changing play.

First, let’s take notice that Blake is calling out the Mike linebacker for the offensive line to assign the blocking scheme.

At South Carolina, we called this formation “left over.” The tight end is lined up to the left side of the formation (the boundary). There’s a running back and a fullback in the backfield in an offset I-formation. Lastly, the two receivers are lined up to the field with Amari Cooper in the slot. Now, notice how far the safety is off the ball. TWELVE yards! That’s telling me they’re just daring Blake Sims to throw the ball deep.

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At the snap of the ball, you see that Alabama is running play-action. That fake handoff brings up the linebackers and freezes the secondary players. You can see from this picture that the tight end is staying in to block. That is the dead give away that Lane Kiffin is calling a deep pass here.

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You’ll notice that that the cornerback covering Amari Cooper is sprinting back to be in a cover 3 look. He will have the deep third of the field. The safety will help him on the deep middle. The other corner is looking at the tight end and just sits there. Not a good play by him. Once Auburn realizes it’s a pass, the linebackers and that boundary corner start backpeddling to get into their zones. By then it’s already too late.

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After the fake and the deep drop by Sims, you can see him look right at the safety to hold him in the middle of the field to cover the outside receiver that is running a deep crosser route.

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By holding the safety there, Cooper has a chance to run his wheel route and put a move on this corner in 1-on-1 coverage. That’s a win for Alabama every time. To make this play work, you have to have a receiver that is an excellent route-runner with speed, a quarterback with a strong and accurate arm, and as always, great blocking up front. Alabama got all the above.

Blake Sims couldn’t have handed this ball better to Cooper and this changed the momentum of the game.

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