Jalen Hurd has probably the biggest play of his college career so far in the third quarter of the Oklahoma game when he broke a 43 yard run. The play called by offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian did a really good job of taking advantage of the defenses overreaction to bubble motion and hit them with a counter away from the motion.
The first thing to notice is that we are in the unbalanced stack formation that we used back in the Utah State game and earlier in the game versus Oklahoma. Obviously Oklahoma had seen this formation on film and earlier in the game and they shifted to defend the jet sweep. Mike Bajakian and the offensive staff did a great job of using a constraint play to have success. We’ve shown this formation and the jet sweep so Oklahoma thought that was what we’d run here. Instead, we hit them with a counter back to the right side and the Sooners were heavily outnumbered. At the time of the snap there were shockingly only 2 defenders to the right of the center.
Counter is a fantastic play to use as a “counter” to the base zone running game. The playside offensive linemen all block down while the backside guard is going to pull through and kick out the playside end. The H-Back is going to pull through and lead through the hole to block the first linebacker. Hurd takes a jab step towards the swing screen then comes back and takes the handoff from Worley.
Worley is making a read on this play. He has the option to throw the swing screen to Malone if the defense does not cover him. In this case the Sooners are clearly worried about Malone as the CB (#15) rotates back to the deep middle and the safety (#13) comes down hard to take away the swing pass. All of the linebackers are leaning towards the screen side as well. Seeing that the defense is so outnumbered to the right and is overreacting to the left, Worley makes the easy decision to hand the ball to Hurd.
This is as wide open as a running play gets. Jackson has an outstanding kickout block, Helm puts a good hit on the linebacker and the rest of our linemen did a good job blocking down to create the hole. The defense has so heavily overreacted that the FS is the only player anywhere near position to make a play and he is unable to get Hurd to the ground. Hurd ends up with 43 yards on the play before someone finally chases him down.
This is a really good example of what happens when you combine great playcalling and great execution. The unusual formation caught Oklahoma off guard, caused them to overreact to the motion, and left the counter wide open.