The number 26 play in our countdown to determine the best plays of Tennessee’s 2015 season is Alvin Kamara’s completed pass to Ethan Wolf for a fourth down conversion versus Florida.
Early in the second quarter of the Vols annual matchup with the Gators, Butch Jones knew his offense needed a spark. The game was tied 7-7, and the Vols’ offense was sputtering. The current drive had started out well with a 29 yard run by quarterback Josh Dobbs, but three plays later the Vols were stuck on their own 47 yard line facing fourth-and-two.
Rather than punt, Jones called for a trick play – the jump pass. This was not a new play; Jones previously ran it when he was the head coach at Cincinnati. The Bearcats gained national attention in 2012 when Jones dialed up this play and running back George Winn threw a touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce. Three years later, Jones called the same trick play in the Swamp.
The jump pass is designed for the running back to take the handoff, fake a power run, then pull up a throw a jump pass to the tight end releasing down the middle. Knowing that the Vols were facing a fourth-and-two, Jones expected the Gators to be playing the run. The play could only work if Florida sold out on the run.
Jones called the play for running back Alvin Kamara to throw the pass to tight end Ethan Wolf. The Vols left guard, Jashon Robertson, pulled around as if to lead Kamara through the hole, while the right side of the line blocked down and fullback Joe Stocstill kicked out the end. This looked just like the blocking scheme for Power.
Wolf lined up on the right and faked a kickout block on the outside linebacker. After a second of hesitation, Wolf released downfield.
Dobbs turned around and handed the ball to Kamara, who began following Stocstill.
Florida bit on the run all the way. Both inside linebackers stepped down to tackle Kamara, and no one covered Wolf.
Kamara simply pulled up and lobbed the ball over the middle to his wide open tight end.
When Jones called this play the first time with the Bearcats, he caught Syracuse in a Cover Zero look with no safety deep. Once Kelce got past the linebackers, there was no one left to defend him, and he walked in the end zone for a touchdown.
This time, Florida lined up with a single high safety, and it saved them six points. Nick Washington lined up deep over the middle just in case Tennessee tried to pass, and it paid off. Washington was able to get a hit on Wolf as he was catching the ball (it was actually a fantastic catch by Wolf in traffic). While Washington wasn’t able to make the tackle, he slowed Wolf up enough for a teammate to make the stop.
This was all the Vols’ needed, as the positive momentum turned the drive around. Three plays later, Jalen Hurd was able to power the football into the end zone, giving the Vols an early 14-7 lead.
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