Twenty Units Earn Honor Through Tough, Physical Play

NEW YORK, New York – November 16, 2015 — The Joe Moore Foundation for Teamwork announced today 20 Semi-Finalists for the 2015 Joe Moore Award, given to the top offensive line unit in college football.

For games played through November 14, the 2015 Joe Moore Award Semi-Finalists have a combined record of 159-37 and represent eight conferences: ACC (6), PAC-12 (4), SEC (3), BIG TEN (3), AAC (1), BIG-12 (1), MAC (1), INDEPENDENT(1). Combined, these teams average 450.08 total yards per game (compared to national average of 412.8) and 217.25 rushing yards per game (national average 178.25). The following O-lines earned a spot as Semi-Finalists, in alphabetical order (overall record):

North Carolina (9-1)
Notre Dame (9-1)
Ohio State (10-0)
Oregon (7-3)
Pittsburgh (7-3)
Stanford (8-2)
Toledo (8-1)
USC (7-3)
Utah (8-2)
Virginia Tech (5-5)

Alabama (9-1)
Arkansas (6-4)
Baylor (8-1)
Clemson (10-0)
Duke (6-4)
Florida St (8-2)
Iowa (10-0)
LSU (7-2)
Michigan State (9-1)
Navy (8-1)

“This season is truly shaping up to be the Year of the Lineman with an increased emphasis on tough, physical play at the line of scrimmage,” said Aaron Taylor, CBS CFB Analyst and Chairman of the Joe Moore Award Voting Committee. “It has been a pleasure to see these O-lines grow together into cohesive units and their play has translated into success for their teams. The cream has started rising to the top and we’re looking forward to watching the film in the coming weeks to see which units separate themselves even further down the stretch.”

The five Joe Moore Award finalists will be named on Monday, November 30th and the winner will be announced the week of December 7th.

The JOE MOORE AWARD is named after Joe Moore, widely regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in college football history, and is the only major college football award to honor a unit.  The award will annually recognize the nation’s Most Outstanding Offensive Line Unit that best displays toughness, effort, teamwork, physicality, tone setting and finishing. The voting committee is comprised solely of people who played or coached the position, including all of the current offensive line coaches at the Division I/FBS level as well as former players, coaches, colleagues of Coach Moore and select media. 

Joe Moore Award Semi-Finalists*:

*The Joe Moore Award units are judged solely on six (6) criteria: Toughness, Effort, Teamwork, Physicality, Tone Setting, and Finishing. Evaluations are made primarily through review of actual game film and, as there are no current statistics that support the award criteria directly, statistics are provided merely as a point of reference.

Alabama (9-1) – The Tide O-line has steadily improved over the season, leading Heisman-hopeful Derrick Henry to three 200-yard rushing games in the last four games and a rushing TD in 15 straight games – the longest streak by an SEC player in the last 20 seasons. In dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, Alabama is 11th in the nation in time of possession (33:17).

Arkansas (6-4) – After early season struggles, the Arkansas O-line has hit its stride during the team’s four-game winning streak, including their upset of #9 LSU this weekend.  The Hogs offense ranks in the top 25 in several statistical categories: they are 5th in time of possession (33:43), 6th in tackles for loss allowed per game (4.1), 14th in sacks allowed per game (1.1) and 21st in average yards per rushing attempt (5.22).

Baylor (8-1) – Despite their first loss, the Baylor offense continues its torrid pace, leading the nation in scoring offense with an average of 54.8 point per game and in total yards with 637.9 yards per game. Much credit goes to an experienced O-line unit, which has six linemen with 16 or more career starts (Spencer Drango 43, Kyle Fuller 21, Blake Muir 20, Desmine Hilliard 18, Jarell Broxton 16, Pat Colbert 16). 

Clemson (10-0) – With a completely rebuilt O-line unit as compared to last season, the Clemson offense has been successful in all phases on their way to the #1 CFP ranking. The Tigers have rushed for more than 200 yards in four straight games and have done a great job protecting quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is 4th in the nation in completion percentage and 14th in passing efficiency.

Duke (6-4) – Averaging 5.44 yards per rush on first down, the Duke O-line unit has established its presence at the line of scrimmage. They have given up only nine sacks all season, which ranks 5th in the nation, and only allow 3.8 tackles for loss per game, good for 4th in the nation.

Florida St (8-2) – Led by his O-line unit, sophomore RB Dalvin Cook is 6th in the nation with 1,369 rushing yards, breaking Warrick Dunn’s team rushing record with two regular season games yet to play. As a team, the Seminoles are averaging 5.47 yard per rushing attempt and rank 12th in the nation in that category.

Iowa (10-0) – Off to their first 10-0 start in school history, the Hawkeyes have built a reputation as one of the most physical teams in the country under Head Coach Kirk Ferentz, who was an OL assistant for Joe Moore at Pitt in 1980. Iowa has scored more than 30 in four consecutive Big Ten Conference games for the first time in school history and ranks 6th in the nation in time of possession (33:33).

LSU (7-2) – The Tigers have lost two games in a row, but the body of work by their O-line unit for the 2015 season is still among the best in the country. They are 4th in the nation in yards per rushing attempt (5.98) and 10th in the nation in rushing yards per game (253.00). Leonard Fournette still leads the nation with 1,474 rushing yards and has scored 17 TDs on the ground.

Michigan State (8-1) – Recent struggles and injuries have cast a shadow on the Spartan’s O-line season, but they are still among the most physical units in the country. The Spartans have scored at least 24 points in 25 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in college football. The Michigan State O-line ranks 2nd in the Big Ten Conference in sacks allowed per game (1.3) and is 3rd in the league in passing offense with 253.9 yards per game through the air.

Navy (8-1) – With the smallest starting center (Blaze Ryder, 5’11”/277) and right tackle (Brandon Greene, 6’3”/265 in the country, the Navy O-line unit has been dominant throughout their undefeated American Athletic conference season, helping QB Keenan Reynolds set a new NCAA record for career rushing touchdowns (81). The Midshipmen are ranked in the top 10 in several offensive categories: 1st in Red Zone conversions (97.62%), 1st in fewest penalty yards per game (29.1), 2nd in rushing yards per game (335.00), and 10th in tackles allowed for loss (4.22).

North Carolina (9-1) – With nine straight wins, the Tar Heels are in the midst of their longest in-season win streak since 1914 and their prolific offense is a big reason why. Over the last two weeks, they have a school-record 125 total points and rank 9th in the nation in scoring averaging 42 points per game. The O-line unit has both protected the passing game and driven the running game, ranking 14th in the nation in sacks allowed per game (1.1) and 9th in tackles for loss allowed per game (4.2).

Notre Dame (9-1) – The Fighting Irish continue their “next man up” season, cracking the top four CFP rankings despite numerous injuries to key players, many along the offensive line. In the process, the Notre Dame O-line unit has emerged as a consistent force at the line of scrimmage, no matter who is in the backfield. In their 28-7 victory over Wake Forest, Freshman RB Josh Adams replaced injured tailback C.J. Prosise and ran for 141 yards, including a 98-yard TD run that set a new record as the longest play from scrimmage in Notre Dame history.

Ohio State (10-0) – The defending National Champions keep on rolling and RB Ezekiel Elliott ran for his 15th consecutive game with 100 or more rushing yards. Overall, the Buckeyes O-line has led the way for a rushing attack that ranks 6th in the nation in yards per attempt (5.69) and 11th in rushing yards per game (244.8). They lead the Big Ten in rushing offense and in scoring, averaging 36.4 points per game.

Oregon (7-3) – The Ducks won their fourth straight game with an upset win over #7 Stanford, scoring more points (38) than the Cardinal have given up in a single game all season. For the season, Oregon is 4th in the nation in rushing offense (297.4/game), 3rd in yards per rushing attempt (6.18) and 10th in the nation in scoring (41.8 points per game).

Pittsburgh (7-3) – The Panther’s 92-yard, 6:14 TD drive to open the game against Duke was typical of their ball control offense, led by their O-line unit. Pitt ranks 14th in the country in time of possession (33:07) and always comes out to play in the second half - Pitt has outscored its opponents 83-29 in the third quarter this season.

Stanford (8-2) – Stanford leads the nation in time of possession (35.58) and still controls their own destiny in the Pac 12’s North Division, despite the loss to Oregon. The Cardinal running game ranks 16th in the nation in yards per game (225.10) and the O-line has paved the way for the incredible season by Christian McCaffrey, who leads the nation in total yards from scrimmage (1,721).

Toledo (8-1) - The Toledo O-line unit has led a balanced attack and owned the line of scrimmage, ranking 1st in the nation in tackles allowed for loss per game (3.22) and giving up only 5 sacks all season, which ranks them 2nd in the nation in sacks allowed per game (0.22). They lead the MAC with an average of 5.26 yards per rushing attempt and they are 13th in the nation in 3rd down conversions (47.92%).

USC (7-3) – The Trojans have won four games in a row and played their way back into Pac 12 contention, led by a balanced attack. Behind the USC O-line unit, QB Cody Kessler leads the Pac 12 in passing efficiency with a rating of 162.89 and freshman RB Ronald Jones II leads all Pac 12 backs with more than 100 carries in yards per attempt (7.14).

Utah (8-2) – Workhorse RB Devontae Booker has tallied a lot of carries – and a lot of yards – behind the Utes’ O-line Unit. After his 34-carry, 145-yard performance against Arizona, Booker now has 1,261 yards and 11 rushing TDs, earned on 268 rushing attempts, the most in the nation. 

Virginia Tech (5-5) – For the Hokies O-line unit, statistics definitely do not tell the whole story. For a variety of reasons, Virginia Tech has played 14 different Offensive Lineman this season. Despite this, as well as playing without their starting QB for much of the season, game film shows that the Hokies offensive line has exhibited the Joe Moore Award criteria this season and are clearly well coached and give great effort.