Seventeen Units Earn Honor Through Tough, Physical Play
NEW YORK, New York – October 11, 2016 – The Foundation for Teamwork has announced its midseason Joe Moore Award Honor Roll, which identifies notable performances by offensive line units in games played through October 8. The following universities earned a spot on the Honor Roll (in alphabetical order): Air Force, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, USC, Virginia Tech, Washington, Washington State, Western Michigan and Wisconsin. The Honor Roll teams have a combined record of 79-16 and include 11 of the top 25 teams in the latest AP Top 25 Poll.
The Joe Moore Award Honor Roll includes units that display a high level of toughness, effort, teamwork, consistency, technique, and “finishing”. Statistics, including those supplied by the universities (i.e. knockdowns), are used to merely support observations made about the technique and effort displayed in the game film, and play no factor in how OL units are evaluated.
“As we review the film, we are looking to see which units are not only using good technique, but also for those that show intensity and a willingness to compete and finish,” said Mike Golic Jr., who played guard at Notre Dame and now hosts “First and Last” on ESPN Radio with Robin Lundberg. “We are especially working to identify units that can do this consistently every game.”
“So far, there has not been one unit that has clearly stood out as the best offensive line in college football,” said Aaron Taylor, CBS CFB Analyst and Chairman of the Joe Moore Award Voting Committee. “We have noticed the teams on the Midseason Honor Roll, but they all have a lot of work to do in order to win the Joe Moore Award.”
The Joe Moore Award Honor Roll for Games Played Through October 8 (in alphabetical order):
Air Force (4-1)
The Falcon O-line unit gave up 3 sacks in their first loss of the season against Wyoming, but that performance doesn’t overshadow what they’ve done the rest of the season. Featuring physicality at the point of attack that belies their size, they are ranked 7th in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 280 yards per game, and have allowed only 16 tackles for loss this season (7 of those came against Wyoming). They don’t throw the ball often, but they do, they lead the nation with an average of 29.5 yards per pass completion.
Next: vs. New Mexico on 10/15
Alabama (#1, 6-0)
Once again, the Crimson Tide are undefeated and lead the SEC in scoring offense, averaging 44.8 points per game. Unlike last year when they were lead by a superstar in eventual Heisman winner Derrick Henry, however, this Alabama unit is succeeding as a team, with no individual players in the top 20 in any offensive statistical category. The O-line unit has protected true freshman QB Jalen Hurts, who has thrown only two interceptions all season. Alabama has averaged 237 rushing yards per game.
Next: @ Tennessee on 10/15
The Tigers continue to improve every week and their O-line unit looked dominant at times in their 38-14 win over Mississippi State. On the season, their powerful running game is ranked 2nd in the SEC and averages more than 262 yards rushing per game. When they need yards on third downs, the Auburn O-line unit has helped the offense convert nearly 50% of those into first downs. Tiger running backs are averaging 2.3 yards per carry before contact and have broken 18 big plays of 15 yards or more.
Next: vs. Arkansas on 10/22
Clemson (#3, 6-0)
Clemson is 3rd in the high-powered ACC in total offense, averaging 470 yards per game and 38.7 points. They’ve done a great job protecting QB Deshaun Watson, allowing only 5 sacks through 6 games’ leading to 29 passing plays of more than 20 yards. The O-line unit showed there true potential in their huge win over Louisville – they ran for 201 yards and senior center Jay Guillermo was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week.
Next: vs. North Carolina State on 10/15
Despite losing RB Leonard Fournette most of this season due to an ankle injury, the Tigers rushing offense continues to roll and is second in the SEC with an average of 6.27 yards per rushing attempt. The Tigers offense has allowed only 24 tackles for loss, which is T-21st in the nation. The LSU O-line unit has helped rank the Tigers 3rd in the SEC in rushing offense (237 yards per game) and has opened holes for big plays, with 15 running plays of more than 20 yards.
Next: vs. Southern Mississippi on 10/15
Miami (#16, 4-1)
Despite struggles in their loss to Florida State last weekend, the Hurricanes rank 2nd in the ACC in scoring with an average of 41.4 points per game. The Miami O-line unit has only given up five sacks on the season and their QB has been pressured on only 11.31% of drop backs. In the running game, the ‘Canes are averaging nearly 200 yards per game and 6.2 yards per carry, while yielding only 18 tackles for loss.
Next: vs. North Carolina
Michigan (#4, 6-0)
While boasting the #1 defense in the nation, the Michigan offense has made its own mark in helping the Wolverines to a perfect 5-0 record. That balance on both sides of the ball is exemplified by the fact that Michigan is 4th in the nation in scoring offense (50.0) and number one in defensive scoring (10.3). Their offense leads the Big10 with the most first downs gained by the offense and fewest first downs yielded by the defense.
Next: vs. Illinois on 10/22
Nebraska (#10, 5-0)
Having allowed a Big Ten best three sacks for the entire season, the Husker O-line unit has helped Nebraska to a 5-0 record and their first top ten ranking since 2011. They rank 2nd in the Big Ten in total offense, averaging 472.6 yards per game with a balanced offense that has produced in both the running and passing game. In controlling the line of scrimmage, they have allowed running backs to gain 2.6 yards per carry before contact and the quarterback is only pressured on 11.35% of passing plays.
Next: @ Indiana on 10/15
Ohio State (#2, 5-0)
The Buckeyes have steamrolled through their first five games, outscoring their opponents 266-54. They lead the Big Ten in scoring offense (53.2 points per game), total offense (537.6 yards per game) and time of possession (36:00). The O-line unit leads the nation in tackles allowed for loss (1.8 per game) and is 2nd in sacks allowed, having given up only three sacks all season. Running backs are averaging 3.5 yards per carry before contact and 6.4 yards per carry overall.
Next: @ Wisconsin on 10/15
Averaging more than 244 yards per game rushing, the resurgent Panthers O-line unit is opening holes for the rushing game, as their RBs are gaining an average of 2.9 yards before contact. Pitt leads the ACC with the fewest sacks allowed (4) and their QB is only pressured on just over 13% of drop backs. Senior tackle Brian O-Neill is this week’s ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week, as he led a unit that produced 407 yards of offense and scored the game’s first points when he ran 24 yards for a touchdown after catching a lateral pass.
Next: @ Virginia on 10/15
Texas A&M (#6, 6-0)
The Aggies emerge from their double-overtime win over Tennessee with a 6-0 record and a solid place among the SEC’s elite teams. They are 6th in the nation and lead the SEC in total offense, averaging 532.8 yards per game. They’ve given up only six sacks all season and their explosive offense leads the SEC in long rushing plays, with 48 rushes of more than 10 yards. Benefitting most from the O-line unit’s great play are QB Trevor Knight and freshman RB Trayveon Williams, who leads the SEC in rushing yards and is averaging 8.59 yards per rushing attempt.
Next: @ Alabama on 10/22
After a brutal start to the season, the Trojans have come to life to refuel hopes of contending for a Pac-12 Championship. In the last two weeks, they have scored 62 points and averaged 7.13 yards per offensive play, a significant improvement over the first four games this season. They lead the Pac-12 in giving up only eight sacks this season and have only yielded one in the last two games, allowing freshman QB Sam Darnold to rank 2nd in the conference in passing efficiency.
Next: @ Arizona on 10/15
Virginia Tech (#17, 4-1)
Excluding their lone loss to Tennessee, the Hokies have outscored their opponents this season 197-78, behind a tough defense and an improving offensive line. The Virginia Tech O-line unit has given up only seven sacks and has allowed their running backs to run for an average of 2.4 yards before contact. In their dominant 34-3 victory over #17 North Carolina – their first win over a ranked team in two years – the Hokies overcame sloppy conditions to own the line of scrimmage, holding the ball for nearly 40 minutes.
Next: @ Syracuse on 10/15
Washington (#5, 6-0)
In the last two weeks, Washington has cemented their place among this season’s best teams with dominant wins over Stanford and Oregon. On the season, the Huskies are averaging a Pac-12 best 49.5 points per game, good enough for 5th in the nation. With great protection for QB Jake Browning, Washington leads the nation in passing efficiency, having thrown 20 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions. They are second in the conference in rushing offense, averaging 229 yards per game.
Next: vs. Oregon State on 10/22
Washington State (3-2)
After an 0-2 start, the Cougars have been dominant in their last three games, outscoring opponents 149-55, including a 42-16 drubbing of #15 Stanford. Not surprisingly, WSU is 2nd in the nation in passing offense, averaging 381.4 yards per game, but they have also shown an improved running game, averaging more the 200 yards per game in the last three games. This big O-line unit (average weight 322.6 lbs.) leads the Pac-12 in tackles allowed for loss allowed (23) and has only given up 11 sacks on 256 passing attempts (4.2%), among the best percentage in the Pac-12 Conference. (this is the math I computed: 1. UTAH 4% AND 2. USC 3.8%)
Next: vs. UCLA on 10/15
Western Michigan (#24, 6-0)
With a powerful running game and efficient passing game, the Broncos find themselves ranked in the top 25 for the first time in program history. They lead the Mid-American Conference in rushing offense, averaging 246.83 yards per game and more than five yards per carry, with 17 rushing touchdowns. They are 6th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 44.8 points per game and they are 5th in the nation in Red Zone offense, having scored on 96.43 of those possessions.
Next: @ Akron on 10/15
Wisconsin (#8, 4-1)
Except for a forgivable challenge against Michigan’s fierce defense, the Badger O-line has battled through a variety of injuries and personnel changes to perform at a level typical to Wisconsin football. They are 2nd in the Big Ten in tackles allowed for loss, giving just over four per game and this unit gets yards when they have to have them: of 18 total 2nd and 3 or 3rd and 3 or less rushing situations, they have converted 75% of those into first downs.
Next: vs. Ohio State on 10/15
About the Joe Moore Award
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 annually recognizes 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. The inaugural Joe Moore Award went to Alabama in 2015.
About the Foundation for Teamwork
The Foundation for Teamwork is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to fostering teamwork in all societal endeavors and bring that spirit of collective achievement to athletics, education, and organizations. Find out more at joemooreaward.com and follow the Joe Moore Award on Twitter (@joemooreaward), Instagram (@joemooreaward), and Facebook at www.facebook.com/JoeMooreAward.