Twelve Units Earn Honor Through Tough, Physical Play
NEW YORK, New York – September 30, 2015 – The Joe Moore Foundation for Teamwork has announced the first quarterly Joe Moore Award Honor Roll, which identifies notable performances by offensive line units in games played through September 19. The following universities earned a spot on the Honor Roll (in alphabetical order): Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Iowa, LSU, Michigan State, Navy, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn State, Southern California, Temple and Virginia Tech.
The Joe Moore Award Honor Roll includes units that display a high level of toughness, effort, teamwork, physicality, tone setting and finishing. Statistics, including those supplied by the universities (i.e. knockdowns), are used to support observations made about the technique and effort displayed in the game film.
“Although the season is young, we’ve seen great effort from O-line Units all over the country,” said Aaron Taylor, college football analyst for CBS and member of the JMA Voting Committee. “We’ve also heard from both coaches and players that are extremely motivated to win the inaugural Joe Moore Award and we’ve seen it inspire some great play. As Ohio Sate proved last year, the key for all of these Units will be how they finish.”
The Joe Moore Award Honor Roll for Games Played Through September 19 (in alphabetical order):
Alabama: In their 35-17 win over Wisconsin, Alabama rushed for 238 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. They scored four rushing touchdowns and registered 27 knockdowns. Their nine rushes of 10+ yards are the most reigning Big 10 West champ Wisconsin has allowed in a game since 2012.
Arkansas: In a 48-13 win over UTEP, the Razorbacks rushed for 182 yards, gaining 5.4 yards per attempt. On 20 pass attempts (15 blitzed), the quarterback, who threw for 308 yards and 4 touchdowns, was never sacked and was only hit twice. The unit was 5-for-5 in Red Zone scoring, converted 2-of-2 4th down rushing attempts and tallied 19 knockdowns.
Colorado: In a 48-14 win over Massachusetts, the Buffs offensive line allowed no sacks and steamrolled its way to 390 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns, averaging 6.6 yards per carry along the way. The team averaged 9.1 yards per first down rushing play, picking up five or more yards 19 times in 28 tries. They led the way to 13 rushing plays of 10 yards or more and had two players rush for more than 100 yards in the game.
Georgia: On their way to a 31-14 win over Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs offensive line was nearly perfect, missing zero blocking assignments in 330 opportunities across 66 plays. They blocked for 281 rushing yards, averaging 6.9 yards per carry, and helped sophomore TB Nick Chubb rush for 189 yards on 19 carries. They followed this with a near flawless performance in their 52-20 win over South Carolina, with zero missed blocking assignments and no sacks or pressures.
Georgia Tech: After a shaky start, the Yellow Jackets offensive line unit came to life and paved the way to 439 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in a dominant 65-10 win over Tulane. Tech averaged 7.8 yards per carry and tallied 21 rushing 1st downs. They were 6 of 9 on 3rd downs and 2 for 2 on 4th down tries.
Iowa: In a 31-17 road win against in-state rival Iowa State, Iowa’s offensive line unit paved the way for 260 rushing yards and 5.8 yards per carry. Most notable was their performance in the fourth quarter, when they controlled the clock for 10:14. In their “walk-off” win over Pitt, the Hawkeye offensive line helped the Panthers gobble up time of possession (32:42-27:18. In allowing only one sack, they also allowed QB C.J. Beathard to throw for career bests in completions (27), attempts (40), and yards (258).
LSU: In a 21-19 win over SEC West foe Mississippi State, the offensive line Unit opened holes for 266 rushing yards and three touchdowns, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. RB Leonard Fournette, the SEC Offensive Player of the Week, scored all three touchdowns and rushed for 159 yards. In the 45-21 win over #18 Auburn, sophomore RB Leonard Fournette continued his stellar season with 228 of LSU’s 411 rushing yards, thanks to an OL Unit led by Vadal Alexander, the second consecutive Tiger named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week. Alexander graded out at 90 percent with 13 knockdowns and the offensive line unit led the way to 411 yards rushing and an 8.6 yards-per-carry average.
Michigan State: In a battle against 7th-ranked Oregon, the Spartan line allowed no sacks in 32 pass attempts. They were 2 for 2 on critical 4th downs and gained 197 yards rushing on 5.3 yards per attempt. Even with the loss of starting RT Kodi Kieler in the first quarter, back up Miguel Machado and the rest of the Unit managed to dominate time of possession (33:26 to 26:34) in their 31-28 victory.
Navy: The Midshipmen offensive line dominated the ground game in Navy’s 45-21 victory over East Carolina, a team that held Florida to just 168 yards rushing the week prior. The power game included 75 carries for 415 yards and six rushing touchdowns, led by QB Keenan Reynolds who ran for 142 yards and five touchdowns. Navy was 7-7 in red zone opportunities and 13-17 on third down conversions, as they held the ball for 36:38.
North Carolina: In the Tar Heels 48-14 win over previously unbeaten Illinois, the offensive line paved the way to 254 rushing yards, an average of 6.9 yards per game. In 63 offensive plays, the Tar Heel offensive line did not allow a sack or have any missed assignments, with just four “loafs”. Preseason All-America G Landon Turner graded out at 90 percent and had 11 knockdown blocks. The Tar Heels O-line Unit recorded 41 knockdown blocks on the day.
Northwestern: In their upset win over #21 Stanford, which ranked 3rd in the nation in total defense in 2014, the Wildcats ran for 225 yards and gave up no sacks, leading to a 16-6 victory at Ryan Field in Evanston, IL.
Notre Dame: In the 38-3 victory over Texas, the Irish offense racked up 527 total yards and dominated time of possession by a margin of almost 2:1 (39:10 to 20:50)., the offensive line blocked for two touchdowns and was not responsible for any sacks, despite consistent blitzes by the Longhorns. In its 30-22 victory over #14 Georgia Tech, Notre Dame ran for 215 yards on 6.7 yards per rush. Senior RB C.J. Prosise galloped for 198 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns, including a 91-yard run midway through the fourth quarter, the longest running play in the history of Notre Dame Stadium and the second-longest run in school history.
Penn State: Penn State did not allow a sack in consecutive games for the first time since 2011 on their way to a 28-3 win over Rutgers. This is an especially notable improvement, considering the Unit gave up ten sacks in Week 1. Both Saquon Barkley (195 yards) and Akeel Lynch (120) rushed for more than 100 yards and the 330 yards rushing were the most since the Nittany Lions ran for 338 at Illinois in 2009.
Southern California: The Trojans rushed for 5 touchdowns and 284 yards in their 59-9 rout of Idaho. The USC offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, earning 35 first downs and 737 total offensive yards against the Vandals defense. In 45 pass attempts, the unit gave up only one sack, protecting QB Cody Kessler on his way to completing 26 of 31 attempts with no interceptions and a career-high 410 passing yards.
Temple: Behind an offensive line that featured two converted defensive linemen in guards Shahbaz Ahmed and Brian Carter, Jahad Thomas rushed for a career-high 193 yards as the Owls defeated Cincinnati 34-26. As part of their strategy to slow down the up-tempo Bearcats, Temple held the ball for almost the entire 3rd quarter (13:00), scoring three touchdowns, including a 56-yard run by Thomas to give the Owls a 24-12 lead. In total, Temple rushed for 215 yards and averaged 6.0 yards per carry.
Virginia Tech: The Tech offensive line played strong in a 42-3 victory over Furman, leading the way to 299 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. The unit average 7.7 yards per carry and rushed for 14 of the Hokie’s 25 first downs. They allowed no tackles for lost yardage on rushing plays and gave up zero sacks on 31 pass attempts.
Semi-Finalists for the Joe Moore Award will be announced on November 16, with five (5) Finalists determined by November 30. The Joe Moore Award winning unit will be announced after the conclusion of the regular season.