This is part two of our Outback Bowl Film Review. You can read part one of our review here and Heck's fantastic film review over on The Only Colors.
1.) Senator Cousins threw seven picks in thirteen games and three from the start of the fourth quarter in the Outback Bowl. What happened?
Well, the obvious suggestion would be that he was pressing, although he threw the first pick down only 16-14 with 11:21 left in the game. The way MSU's season went most games were only half over at this point.
Cousins Pick 1
MSU lines up in the shotgun and Georgia lines up in their 3-4 and shows blitz from the defense left or a slightly delayed blitz from defense right. The blitz ends up coming from the area in yellow. This is probably as good a job as Georgia did masking the blitz all day.
The play snaps and the defense right starts dropping back into coverage while two blockers on the left come completely unblocked. Obviously, Cousins is all "Oh Balls!". The left side of MSU's offensive line was expecting the blitz to come from the defense right and so they're left with no one to block.
Bell can't block both defenders, I mean he probably could if he was all hulked out and pissed like he is in the first quarter. Seriously, he can't block both guys. Foreman isn't blocking anyone, but doesn't look around to see if the blitz is coming from the other side.
Bell picks his poison, but ultimately he was just trying to make Cousins feel better about the fact that he had less than two seconds to get rid of this ball. Cousins is about to get smeared by number 19.
He throws the ball to what looks like a B.J. Cunningham who is in single coverage and has gotten himself some separation.
But the safety makes a great play and jumps the route and runs the other way with the ball. Which sucks.
Cousins Pick 2
MSU lines up in a Two Tight End I formation. Georgia has got nine in the box. MANBALL is about to ensue. right? RIGHT?
Wrong. The play snaps in some "Oh sir, you've bested me with your trickeration" fashion, Linthicum and Sims take off on verticals downfield. Cunningham runs a wheel route past the sticks.
Both Tight Ends are deep into the secondary and it looks like here comes another catch on Linthicum's already amazing 115 yard day.
I means seriously, Linthicum is stupid open. Except Alec Ogletree does his best Woodson imitation and leaps up in the air to tip a ball that he really had no business getting to.
He tips it down and it's a Fat Guy Interception. I'd try to screencap it, but the glory of a Fat Guy Interception is not meant to be beheld by viewing instrument less ornate than that of the simple human eye.
Cousins Pick 3
MSU is in it's 5 WR package and Georgia lines up in a 3-4 Over. The blitz comes from defense right this time. The corner actually gets sent on a corner blitz, but because he's a few yards off the line of scrimmage it comes as an unblocked but slightly delayed blitz.
The play snaps and he begins his attack.
He's still coming while his friends are trying to kill Kirk. Note, if Keshawn Martin, WR at the top-right of the screen cuts his route short there's a good chance this isn't a pick. Number 9(also top-right) is in man coverage on Cunningham. He still would have been short of the sticks but would have had a great chance to make a play.
Bell is open out in the flat but Cousins heard all of you guys screaming at him in the first half and knows that he should not throw short of the sticks.
Nichol is open way downfield, but Cousins got pressured into a bad throw and throws to his most reliable target, Cunningham.
2.) Nichol touchdown.
MSU lines up in a 5 WR shotgun set. Georgia lines up in it's 3-4. Georgia is guarding the endzone fiercely as evidenced by the three deep safeties right on the goal line.
The play snaps and Georgia brings four, the remaining four that are up on the line pick a man and drop into coverage.
The red represents the actual routes run by the Wide Receivers. In a moment you'll see this was obviously a designed clearout for Nichol from the outset.
Here the yellow routes are what MSU ran and the red routes are what the respective routes by Georgia defense was. The concern that Keshawn Martin caused for the Georgia D is what allowed Nichol to get open. Martin ran right at the deep middle safety and dragged both the safety and his linebacker into double coverage. Cunningham who ran the quick out, had the job of taking his guy out of the play, which left Nichol in single coverage in the endzone. Nichol can outmuscle a safety because even his muscles have muscles.
3.) Safety Play
Keshawn Martin has the red line over him. He is about to be safetied for safety's sake.
The blitz is coming from the area in yellow. That is a lot of blitzing. Sugar jets!
The play snaps and Cunningham starts on his route. The red route was the route he ran, the yellow route would have probably prevented a safety. It would have caused Boykins to square himself in the wrong direction, which would have given Martin time to at least get out of the endzone.
Instead Martin catches the ball two yards behind the goal line. ROUSHAR ALIEN HYPOTHESIS COMES NOW: If Martin can slip the tackle on Boykins, this is a minimum of a 40 yard gain. Likely six points. Number 9, Ogletree in the middle of your screen has a good angle, but is an inside linebacker and is likely not going to beat Martin in a footrace. Your next best angle belongs to All-American Safety Shawn Williams. Alas, instead of a well-disguised home run ball, Georgia gets two points.
I only bring this picture up because I want to show how hard Martin got hit. He's like three inches short of breaking the plane and doesn't make it out.
In fact, he got hit so hard he got knocked clean backwards for another yard loss on top of that. So that sucked.
4.) Brian Linthicum catches a 50 yard pass to set up the tying Touchdown.
Two things happened on this play that made all the difference. Georgia sent six on the blitz and it didn't get home. Thing number two is that in the still above, Linthicum had not yet caught the ball and Travis Jackson was a few yards downfield. I'm not saying that's an illegal man downfield, I'm just saying maybe be a bit more careful about that in the future.
I really wanted to do a workup on how and why Linthicum had 7 grabs for 115 and what gave him that success in this game. Unfortunately, there really wasn't a typical play to chart on the matter. 115/7 is 16.3 yards per grab. He had two catches in the neighborhood of that a 17 yard pass from Cousins and an 18 yard pass from Martin, but his other catches were for -1,3,23,50 and 5 yards. So his day seemed to be largely feast or famine so it's difficult to use that as a framework to describe the whole day.
5.) I can't make this BieLOLema up.
I swore those were the Dr. Dre's Beats, but instead they're Bose. And as every audiophile jokes, "No highs, no lows, it's Bose". Crappy headphones and a pair of Officer Barbrady aviators. That's bi-winning!
Prior to the Outback Bowl all I heard from a couple of the Georgia bloggers that I follow is how afraid MSU should be of Georgia's D. It's absolutely true, their defense was excellent in getting Cousins to turn the ball over three times for the first and only time in 2011 and holding Bell to his lowest YPC of the season. For as much as I made reference in the MSU D vs UGA O post about how well MSU's D played, UGA's D did an equally impressive job.
The Offense as a result had kind of a feast or famine day and Dan Roushar got to wheel out his inner OC alien which always makes the denizens of Zerfgnax happy. In rewatching this game, we are going to miss Kirk Cousins next year. In spite of having a poor game, he had the poise and confidence to get in there and win MSU the game. People who think Maxwell will be an immediate upgrade will be lucky if they're right, as will we, the fans.
This is a great building block win for going into 2012. Georgia was a young and talented team who got the jump on MSU early and couldn't quite hang in there to close out the game. MSU beat a team when the two teams were on equal footing. It was a great way to close out the career for so many deserving seniors and set up our future seniors for their bowl game success.