Anatomy of a play

On Saturday’s Homecoming football game against Kent State University, the game was close with less than two minutes left. Ball State lined up at a 4th and five at Kent State’s 7-yard line. The Cardinals were down four with 1:38 to go, and senior quarterback Keith Wenning hit junior wide receiver Willie Snead for the go-ahead touchdown.

“The defense was giving us signals all game,” Snead said. “I just caught onto it then. I knew I was going to be wide open because they double covered Jamill [Smith]. Underneath, I was wide open and I just walked in.”

1. Ball State lines up in the shotgun, with Jahwan Edwards to Wenning’s right. Sophomore wide receiver Jordan Williams is lined up wide right by himself. Senior tight end Zane Fakes is in a three-point stance on the right side of the formation. Snead is lined up wide left, with senior Jamill Smith in the slot to the left.

2. Kent State’s defense is playing four down linemen with three defensive backs. The three defensive backs are lined up in front of the wideouts with two safeties standing along the goal line. Kent State’s two linebackers are behind the defensive linemen, in front of Ball State’s right guard and Fakes.

3. At the snap, Fakes runs a route into the end zone, taking a safety and a linebacker with him. The cornerback on Jordan Williams follows him on an in-route. The other linebacker followed Edwards on his swing route, leaving the other safety and two cornerbacks on Snead and Smith.

4. Smith runs a fade to the left corner of the end zone, taking his cornerback with him. Snead runs a slant to the inside. Smith’s route takes him in front of Snead’s route. The safety on the play follows Smith on the fade, leaving Snead in single coverage. As the players cross on their routes, Snead’s cornerback slows down as Smith runs by.

5. Snead has four yards of cushion between himself and the cornerback when he catches Wenning’s pass. By the time the cornerback makes up for the space, Snead is in the end zone.


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