Was there anything more annoying during the Cap One broadcast than Jesse Palmer’s analysis of Nebraska’s defensive pass coverage scheme? (Although Pollack’s repeated butchering of Swann’s last name came close.) Granted, Murray threw two picks, but one of those came because Nebraska’s safeties showed a look they hadn’t shown during the season and the other came on a botched inside screen that the Huskers were well prepared for.
In the meantime, while Palmer was blathering about zone matches, Georgia was doing something else: getting a bunch of yards and scores through the air. It turned out Mike Bobo wasn’t as awed by Pelini’s scheming as Palmer was.
Georgia attacked the Husker defense in a variety of ways through the air, most often by manipulating Nebraska’s aggressiveness into favorable chances for their play-making athletes.
Bobo said the Bulldogs added crossing route combinations and receiver-pick plays into their arsenal specifically for this game, concepts that apparently fracture NU’s match-up zone coverage scheme. The 29-yard first-quarter touchdown pass to tight end Arthur Lynch, who was wide open as he cut across the middle, was an example of “something that we’ve never done,” Bobo said.
According to Bobo, those types of calls were especially effective on third down (Murray completed 11 of his 14 third-down throws for 246 yards).
Wide open might be an understatement there. You could tell Lynch was almost shocked at how free he was after he caught the ball.
Nebraska had to adjust: “Nebraska countered by calling blitzes — because the longer Murray had to throw, the more lethal he was, according to defensive coordinator John Papuchis.” We know how that worked out.
Then there was the back-breaker. On third-and-8 early in the fourth quarter, the Huskers sent as many pass rushers as they could. But Murray got the pass off to Conley, who ran untouched for an 87-yard touchdown to seal the win.
Daimion Stafford thought his man was running an out route, but the tight end set a pick, taking Evans out of the play. By the time Stafford had identified the deception, he was getting blocked by an offensive lineman.
Bobo’s halftime advice to Murray makes me smile.
Said Bobo: “If you’ll settle down, we’ll be able to take advantage of some things and make some big plays. … I thought we were trying to be too perfect on every play, instead of just settling down and taking what they give us.”
“Taking what they give us” may be Mike Bobo’s ultimate schwing! moment as Georgia’s offensive coordinator. Hopefully, the balance demon has been exorcised for good.