In the second quarter of yesterday's season opener against Maine, Boston College rallied after a missed field goal to force a three-and-out on the ensuing Maine drive. Taking the field from their own 45 yard line, BC drove down the field in less than 10 plays, picking up an 11-yard run by Marcus Outlow and a 16 yard catch-and-run by Jon Hilliman in the process.
Facing a third-and-eight from the Maine 26 yard line, Wade again connected with Hilliman to put the ball on the nine yard line. Two plays later, with second and goal on the 11, with the clock winding down and set to receive the ball in the second half, BC slammed the door shut on a pesky Black Bear squad.
Wade took the snap and immediately rolled out to his dominant left hand side. The offensive line walled off the backside protection and as Wade hit the hash marks, he saw Bobby Swigert breaking towards the pylon. He delivered a perfect strike to the diving receiver, scoring the first touchdown of 2015 and putting BC up, 10-3.
The play, by design, was set to go to Swigert from the start. When you watch Wade roll out to the left, his head never moves as he locked onto the receiver. Swigert, to his credit, cut in towards the hashes before rolling back out to the left. Because he zig zagged with Dave Dudeck, the coverage safety chose to go to Dudeck on the short yardage, leaving the tougher pass play to Swigert wide open.
The play begins with the offensive line. The right side fell back into solid protection by sealing off the blind side, keeping the rushing linebacker from ever getting the edge. At the same time, they fell back to almost a half circle off to the right side, sealing them all off in kind of a half-moon type formation.
By doing that, Wade is left with a clear path to roll out left. There are three to four mismatches occurring once he heads that way. For starters, his speed means the middle linebacker has to almost run at a quarter speed because if he exclusively goes back into coverage, Wade has a clear path to inside the five yard line before anyone gets to him. So he's left out in space at the nine yard line.
A second linebacker (#52) went with Sherm Alston on the play as he cut out to the 10 yard line and went up towards the goal line. In forcing Maine's attention, Alston took a potential tackler or rusher away from Wade and moved him closer to the goal line. That left a solid six to seven yards in front of the quarterback to really get great field vision of his receiver.
While that's happening, Dudeck is really the key to opening up the play for Swigert. Dudeck runs almost exactly the same route as Swigert with one noticeable exception. Dudeck stopped on a dime at the six yard line and twisted his body to go back towards the sideline route. I don't think he ever intended to go back and become a second option on the play. I think he, instead, did exactly what happened - he took the deep coverage guy off the goal line.
That leaves Swigert one-on-one with #25 for Maine. #25 is fading back towards the post and would almost definitely have been right on the receiver if he cut in. Instead, Swigert takes a long, speed route to the flag and gets great separation. He's able to separate from the defensive back thanks, in part, to the fact that he's at top speed when he turns left and the DB is in a slow zone backpedal.
Swigert takes off, is left all alone, and all that's left is for Wade to deliver the pass on the run.
This is exactly the type of pass play that I mentioned during my talk about Wade's role in read option in early August. Roll left, see the receiver, and deliver the strike. It's a variation of the play, especially since Wade didn't run a read option on it and instead immediately rolled out to his left. But where BC doesn't have a pass catching tight end, Swigert is able to fill the role with a couple of different tweaks to the play.
It's a staple pass play in a Steve Addazio offense for a quarterback like Wade. Against Maine, it was the turning point where BC started to pull away and never looked back.