Heading into Week 2 of the 2016 college football season, Nick Chubb is already one of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy.
Of course, plenty can change between now and then — Chubb does have a history of injury, remember — but if he keeps playing at the level he displayed against North Carolina, he’ll be hard to stop.
Georgia rushed for 289 yards and three touchdowns in its 33-24 win over UNC. Chubb accounted for 222 of those yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 6.9 yards on 32 carries.
“Nick Chubb is a special person,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said after the game. “He’s got great humility, has a great family and he works so hard. Not many people know what he’s been through to reach this point. There’s a reason he’s in the shape he’s in; it’s because of the way he works.”
With 3:43 left in the game and Georgia up 26-24, Smart gave the ball to Chubb and the UGA star sealed the win for the Bulldogs. Chubb rumbled 55 yards on the only play of the drive for a touchdown. That was the final scoring play of the game, and it sealed Smart’s first win as Georgia’s head coach.
There was no bigger play in this game than Chubb’s game-winning touchdown run, so let’s break it down in this edition of Film Room Friday.
Nick Chubb is BACK. pic.twitter.com/t2Kfbt6ldY
— 120 Sports (@120Sports) September 4, 2016
Georgia came out in an I-formation with strength to the left via the tight end. UGA had two players flanked to the right and bunched up, and No. 83 Jeb Blazevich (actually a tight end) went in motion.
The key to this play is that Blazevich did not make a full motion to the other side of the line. All UGA did here was set up a power play, with Blazevich and the other flanked-out receiver blocking down on the edge. Their split from the tackle as well as the motion allowed them to get a great angle on the down block, almost a crack-back.
The play-side tackle wrapped around the crack block and kicked. UGA’s fullback led through and everybody else sealed off with their helmets on the right side of the defender. Here’s what the play would look like drawn up:
It starts to get a bit blurry here, so stick with me.
Move up a frame or two on the play and notice the angles that started to come together for UGA’s offense. Blazevich washed the defensive end inside and completely walled him off. The right guard slowed down the blitz from UNC’s linebacker — a blitz that could have stopped Chubb behind the line of scrimmage if it wasn’t picked up — and though the North Carolina safety did a good job of reading the play, the outside receiver had another great angle to wash him into the box. Meanwhile, the rest of Georgia’s blockers in motion (pulling tackle and fullback) looked at one cornerback on the edge to block. A 2-1 ratio is all you can ask for as a blocker with Chubb behind you:
Moving a few frames forward, Chubb had the ball with momentum behind him. The pulling tackle got out on the cornerback and the fullback decided he didn’t need help and led through the hole. Notice now his eyes turned to the defenders spilling over. He sealed that inside edge with the tackle sealing the outside and Chubb finding a lane. That’s all an elite running back like Chubb needed in order to turn on the boosters.
Here’s a look at the lane setting up:
Georgia’s scheme and blocking got Chubb to this point. Chubb’s next move marked the elite display in this sequence.
The corner got off his block and two defenders scraping over flooded the lane. Elite speed, burst and strength left those defenders looking like this:
And for good measure, how about this?
The cool part about the above play is that at its core, it was a simple power scheme — a play coaches use in high school, the NFL, and everywhere in between. The motion and setup of the blocks showed good strategy on Georgia’s part, and obviously the Bulldogs executed.
It was Chubb’s level of talent, though, that took this play and made it spectacular. Most other running backs would have been tackled once the lane closed up.
Chubb isn’t most other running backs.