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PU vs NEB Film Review Offense: 1st Quarter

The first quarter was bad

Nebraska v Purdue Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Purdue dropped another close one to Nebraska on Saturday. I’m here to walk you through what went right, what went wrong, who played well on offense and who struggled.

Drive 1:

Purdue starts at their own 20 after Nebraska puts the kickoff in the endzone.

Clock: 15:00

Down: 1/10

Field Position: PU 20

Personnel: 20

Formation: Shotgun, RB Split behind QB, Slot R

Play: RB Motion L to R, FB B Gap L run

Outcome: Worship 4 yard run,


Brohm tries to get Worship more room by motioning Knox out to the right. He got a few steps from the weak-side linebacker, but nothing substantial. Evans doesn’t quite get off his double team to get the LB in the hole. McCann also loses his man, who works his way down the line to Worship. Worship always finishes his runs strong, and picks up 4 yards.

Clock: 14:36

Down: 2/6

Field Position: PU 24

Personnel: 20

Formation: Shotgun, FB Wing R, RB Pistol, Slot R

Play: RB B Gap R

Outcome: Knox 1 yard run


Knox follows Worship through the B gap, but is taken down by an unblocked safety. It’s Knox’s responsibility to make the safety miss, and he can’t do it. Well blocked but minimal game. Nice play by the NU safety.

Clock: 14:09

Down: 3/5

Field Position: PU 25

Personnel: 11

Formation: Shotgun, RB Offset L, TE Flex L, Slot R

Play: TE Option Route

Outcome: Incomplete Pass


Blough gets good protection but Blough’s pass takes off on him, and he overthrows Hopkins by a yard or 2. Would love to see that pass into the big mans body.

Drive Summary:

3 plays, 5 yards, 0 1st downs.

Not a great start for Purdue.

Drive 2:

Nebraska moves the ball down the field easily, but bogs down because of penalty in the redzone. Purdue’s defense holds NU to 3 points. Purdue once again starts at the 20. The return game has been poor for the Boilermakers.

Clock: 11:37

Down: 1/10

Field Position: PU 20

Personnel: 1/0

Formation: Shotgun, RB Offset R, 3 WR left, 1 right

Play: Read Option, RB B Gap R Run

Outcome: Worship 9 yard gain


You get your first look at one of the unique things Blough brings to the table on this play, as Purdue goes zone read. In the zone read, Purdue doesn’t block the strong side linebacker, and Blough reads him correctly and gives to Worship when the LB stays home. Good read by Blough on the give. Blough gives Purdue a few more options in the run game.

Zone Read w/ Blough

Clock: 11:13

Down: 2/1

Field Position: PU 29

Personnel: 10

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset R, Slot L & R

Play: RPO Quick Swing Boundary WR

Outcome: Sparks 6 yard completion


Purdue goes RPO as Blough has the option to had the ball off or raise up and fire a quick pass to the outside if the coverage is off. Blough reads NU’s DB dropping up and fires a quick strike outside to Sparks. This is another good read by Blough.

Clock: 10:50

Down: 1/10

Field Position: PU 35

Personnel: 10

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset L, Slot L Tight, Slot R

Play: Read Option, B Gap R run

Outcome: Worship 25 yard run


Brohm once again utilizes the threat of the Blough run to manipulate the strong side backer. The backer is unblocked, but is looking at 3 options, as Blough could keep and run outside, give and let Worship hit the B gap, or pull it and throw it to the flat. The linebacker stays outside, Blough makes the correct read, and Worship gets into the secondary and does damage.

Blough helps the run game.

Clock: 10:39

Down: 1/10

Field Position: NU 40

Personnel: 10

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset R, WR Spread

Play: RB A Gap L

Outcome: Worship 5 yard run


Purdue goes with tempo and continues to grind away with Worship. This 5 yard gain is all Worship, as Evans is supposed to pick up the LB in the hole, but gets impatient and picks up the wrong linebacker, leaving Worship to make his own hole, which he does to the tune of a 5 yard game. Worship may not have the top end speed, but he’s going to get you positive yards on every carry he gets the ball heading downhill.

Clock: 10:08

Down: 2/5

Field Position: NU 35

Personnel: 11

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset R, TE L, Slot L

Play: Zone Read Keep

Outcome: Blough sack, -3 yards


Blough has the option to hand to Knox, but pulls the ball down. The protection scheme is supposed to allow the NU DE up the field, and then to have Barron pick him up and push him past, but Barron doesn’t get out in time, and can’t get the NU defensive end off his path. Blough steps up, into the waiting arms of the DT, who also beat Steinmetz. In retrospect, Blough should have handed the ball to Knox, but the O-Line simply didn’t perform on this play.

Clock: 9:35

Down: 3/8

Field Position: NU 38

Personnel: 10

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset L, Slot L Tight, Slot R

Play: Slot L to R motion to trips R

Outcome: McCann False Start


McCann spent some time on the bench last week because of false start issues. It doesn’t seem to have helped.

Clock: 9:15

Down: 3/13

Field Position: NU 43

Personnel: 10

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset R, WR Spread

Play: Field WR 20 yard Go

Outcome: Incomplete


Protection is decent as Blough attempts to hit Wright on the Go route, but the ball is a little too high for Wright to get his hands on it, and its quite possible he gets sawed in half by the safety if he does catch it. NU is keeping their safeties deep, rushing 3, and making Purdue make the play...and they don’t convert.

Drive Summary:

7 play, 57 yard, 2 First Downs, Punt

Nebraska going with the “Purdue is going to self destruct” defense that Rutgers employed, and it worked again. Teams are content to sit back, make tackles in their secondary in the run game, and wait Purdue out.

Drive 3:

Purdue starts with better field position, as the defense holds and Anthrop fields a fair catch at the PU 35.

Clock: 5:09

Down: 1/10

Field Position: PU 35

Personnel: 11

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset L, TE R, Slot L

Play: Counter Speed Option L

Outcome: Knox 6 yard run


Purdue again utilizes Blough in the running game on this play. As both Blough and Knox take a counter step R, essentially faking the read option, and then breaking out to the 2 man, perimeter speed option, with Blough making a pitch to Knox, and Knox finishing hard for a 6 yard game. No one is going to confuse Blough as an option QB, as he doesn’t really press the line, but he does make a solid pitch for a decent gain on 1st down.


Down: 2/4

Field Position: PU 41

Personnel: 1

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset L, TE Flex R, Slot L

Play: RPO throw to slot L

Outcome: Anthrip 0 yard gain


Blough goes with the pass in this RPO, but Anthrop doesn’t have much room, the ball is behind him, Sparks misses his block and Anthrop’s man comes up and puts him on the ground. Not sure what the read was from Blough on that play, as the DB stays tight. This should have been a run.

Clock: 4:08

Down: 3/4

Field Position: PU 41

Personnel: 10

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset R, Trips R

Play: RB off tackle

Outcome: Knox 2 yard run


Swingler should either help Evans seal the DE and then get a piece of the linebacker, or let Evans do his job and wait for the linebacker. Swingler makes an inconsequential block on the DE, can’t get back outside, and helps tackle Knox for a 2 yard gain on 3rd and 4.

Not Ideal

Drive Summary:

3 and Out for the 2nd time today for Purdue. The Boilermakers simply can’t recover from any negative plays, and the 2nd down pass for 0 yards pretty much ruins the drive.

Drive 4

Purdue’s defense holds again, and Purdue starts with good field position with the ball at their own 39 after an Anthrop fair catch.

Clock: 2:32

Down: 1/10

Field Position: PU 39

Personnel: 12

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset L, TE1 R, TE2 L, WR Split

Play: R to L Motion, End Around

Outcome: Sparks 1 yard run


Markell Jones makes his first appearance in the game, picks the correct block and then gets embarrassed by the linebacker in the hole, as the linebacker pushes Jones out of the play like a small child. Sparks falls forward for 1, but Jones won’t like how that play looks on film.

Clock: 2:05

Down: 2/9

Field Position: PU 40

Personnel: 10

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset R, Trips L

Play: RB Counter, B Gap R

Outcome: Jones 3 yard run


Purdue again goes with the counter to try and slow down pursuit. Barron pulls to lead the play, but Jones doesn’t hit the hole fast enough and the man Barron was originally lined up against follows him down the line and drops Jones with Inside/Out pursuit. Excellent defensive play, but Jones has to get the play turned up the field a step quicker.

Clock: 1:37

Down: 3/6

Field Position: PU 433

Personnel: 11

Formation: Shotgun, RB offset L, TE R, Slot R

Play: RB 5 yard Circle Route L to R

Outcome: Incomplete / Penalty: Not enough men on the line


First off, this is a terrible call by the line judge, who must have been bored, because he can pretty much make this call on every play. Honestly, I don’t see it as LT #55 (Mendez), looks to be close enough to the line, but the line judge throws the flag anyway, negating any gain before Blough even throws the ball.

Come on now, that about as close as it gets.

That said, the pass gets batted by a D-lineman as Blough tries to thread the ball to Jones, who is short of the line to gain, running perpendicular to the line, and tightly covered. This play wasn’t going anywhere, but I still take umbrage with the call, even if it is inconsequential in the long run.

4th down: Punt

Drive Summary:

3 plays, 4 yards, Punt

3 and out, as Jones features in this drive, but doesn’t get the job done as a blocker or a runner.

End of Quarter:

Runs: 9 - 55 yards

Passing: 2/5 - 6 yards

Purdue gets the run game going on the second drive, but shoots a few toes off in Nebraska territory and settles for 0 points. The other 3 drives don’t last longer than 3 plays each. Purdue’s offense is letting down the defense by squandering decent field position and keeping the Boiler D on the field by going 3 and out. The passing game is depressingly bad in this quarter. Knowing how this game ends, a 1st quarter like this can’t be great for the late game legs of the defense.