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Sunday Armchair QB Analysis - McCord V ND

+16 HS
datanut's picture
September 24, 2023 at 9:45pm

McCord played a great game yesterday - made clutch throws, led the team in a hostile environment, and at the end of the day he won the damn game. But, I felt like there were moments in the game where McCord might've been able to make a better play (better decision, better throw, etc) to help us out even more. In hindsight, I truly believe tOSU should've won by 10+ points at least; so I wanted to look at McCord's attempts from last night and try to nitpick a bit and see where there is some room for improvement through my novice/naive eyes.

Note: I am not bashing McCord here; just looking where there is room for improvement! I also understand that the TV angle isn't the angle he's seeing on the field, I don't know the playcalls/receiver progressions, I don't know the Xs/Os of football a ton, etc, etc. To be honest, I was really proud of how McCord played last night and wanted to see where he can improve to take this team to the levels we want to see this year!

Here's the video I used to look at his pass attempts:

First Quarter

1st and 10 (15:00), tOSU 25 - Dump off pass to Egbuka. Didn't seem like there were many options here honestly. S/o EE for somehow making 1 person miss lmao

3rd & 6 (13:34), tOSU 29 - Great route by Stover, easy pitch and catch for McCord. No complaints here

2nd & 6 (12:42), tOSU 47 - Easy pitch & catch w Stover made great by the YAC. S/o Stover for burying the ND CB into the dirt with his left hand lmao

1st & 10 (12:11), ND 45 - Nice deep try to EE; Pretty well covered and don't think there were many other options that were viable either. Throw was a bit overthrown but personally I prefer that to slightly underthrown to minimize the chance of the defense making a play on the ball so I personally don't have too many issues with the throw itself tbh. Still liked the playcall and the aggression to try the shot and keep the safeties honest/aware that we can and will go deep

3rd & 12 (11:38), ND 47 - Overthrows EE down the seam, nearly throws a pick. Didn't like the decision here by Kyle; feel like there were a few times he forced it into a double team last night. In hindsight, most of his options are covered, but I still don't like this throw. I would count this as the first "bad" throw of the night.

Second Quarter

1st & 10 (12:23), ND 36 - Overthrows Stover near the right boundary. It's a tough throw but not a bad decision in my opinion. However, in hindsight, I would like to see him rip it to Gee Scott Jr. on this play. Right when McCord releases the ball, Scott Jr. is racing past his man at the first down marker and should have an easy TD I believe. I think with the worry of the ND pass rush and the heat of the moment, McCord saw the first open option (Stover) and decided to try to rip it to him and didn't notice Scott Jr. starting to get open -> Not a bad throw decision imo, throw just had to be a touch better for the execution.

2nd & 8 (11:32), ND 34 - Hit his safety valve in Trayanum and Chip does the hard part and gets the first down. Good decision and throw by McCord. Great YAC by Chip here

3rd & 5 (9:20), ND 17 - What a fucking throw! EE beats his man and creates a window a McCord puts it right in there for a clutch first down. This is the first "great" throw of the night for me and more importantly, McCord looked calm as hell while doing it. He might've been able to go to Stover as well if he really wanted to but EE was the right call and a perfect throw helped cement that decision.

4th & Goal (7:00), ND 1 - Credit to ND for really good defense here. I feel like they earned the turnover on downs more than we turned it over if that makes sense. In hindsight I feel like McCord gave up on throwing to Chip a touch early here. I think the ND DL about to pummel into Miyan Williams causes McCord to bail on throwing to Chip and turn to the near side of the field. However, in that moment, Miyan's block actually holds up and Chip starts to become open on the far side. I think McCord can hit this throw as well just needs to loop it enough for Chip to run under it and snag it. However, I don't blame McCord for this play even though he might've had Chip 0.5 seconds after he turned away -> ND defense stepped up and played well

1st & 10 (3:45), tOSU 21 - Easy pitch and catch w MHJ. Liked the simple playcall to get him involved.

3rd & 2 (3:00), tOSU 29 - Again another nice pitch and catch to Stover for the first. I'd also like to point out so far the O Line has held up well in pass pro. Most of these pass attempts I've watched so far McCord has had plenty of time to scan the field, wait for his options to become open, etc. and this play is a perfect example of this.

2nd & 9 (1:47), tOSU 36 - WHAT A THROW AND CATCH OMFG. Refs completely robbed us of an amazing throw and grab smh. Again love the aggression to trust our guys to win their 1v1s deep and putting the ball up there to make a play. McCord puts the ball only where Marvin can make a play and Marv proves that he's that mf guy sheesh. Sidenote: I love re-watching the sideline after Marv's insane grab and seeing everyone (Sawyer, Caden Curry, etc.) screaming random things hahaha

2nd & 6 (1:20), ND 43 - Good play by Morrison. McCord tries to get it to MHJ but it gets broken up. Not sure if McCord could've gone anywhere else with this ball. He could've tried EE if he threw it a touch earlier but it might've been a similar tough grab. He could've also tried to swing it to Henderson (I think that's him at least?) in the flat but Tre would've had to at least make 1 man miss so can't blame McCord here for trying to fire quickly to Marv IMO

3rd & 6 (1:17), ND 43 - Great patience here by McCord waiting on EE to get open and making a good throw when he was ready to fire. EE was definitely the right decision and he got it there perfectly

1st & 10 (1:07), ND 33 - Great awareness by EE to find the hole and sit in it and await McCord's pass. Felt like we had a lot of success attacking near the first down marker all game so shoutout the coaches for scheming up those play and the players for executing those plays.

1st & 10 (0:46), ND 15 - Great throw by McCord to try to rip it to EE in the back of the endzone. The throw isn't perfect but it was good enough to catch especially for EE. One thing I noticed during the play, it seemed like EE slowed down a touch around the 2 yard line once he got past his man (maybe he didn't think he was getting the ball, etc.) but I think that slight de-acceleration caused the catch to be harder than it should've been. This is one of the plays I think we should've scored on but we learn from these moments and move on! Great play here by McCord just didn't happen to work out.

3rd & 8 (0:34), ND 13 - Another forced throw down the seam/into a double team. I think McCord might've had a chance to get it to Henderson if he holds onto the ball for just another second but he was also about to get his from behind by a ND DL so it's possible that throw wouldn't have even gotten off. Still, I'm still chalking this up as McCord's 2nd "bad" throw of the night -> this should've been intercepted (or at least I wouldn't have been surprised if ND ended up picking this ball)

Third Quarter

1st & 10 (3:27), tOSU 35 - Nice pitch and catch with MHJ to get some wind back in the sails for the Buckeyes. Considering this is the first pass attempted by McCord in the second half I like the playcall to get him back to a comfortable zone with an easy throw/route; just insane to thing about how much time ND took up in the third quarter

3rd & 4 (2:19), tOSU 41 - Miracle grab by Stover lmao. McCord is obviously affected by the backside hit but the throw is so dangerous. Counting this as the 3rd "bad" throw (or at least a bad decision) by McCord but somehow it worked out great for us as we were able to somehow get the first down. Don't think McCord can really make many positive plays here so throwing the bacll out of bounds might've been the call here but that comes with experience and game time. With all that being said, honestly I wish Stover's knee wasn't down; would've loved to take a 10 point lead in South Bend off a play like this haha

1st & 10 (1:59), tOSU 45 - Lot of the action was off-screen but great route here by EE and throw by McCord to get it to him in rhythm. EE had a monster game wow. Also let me say again, this pass pro has looked good so far especially on this play. McCord had all day to let his routes develop and EE got open for him

1st & 10 (1:24), ND 40 - Love the aggression and throw by McCord. The ball is overthrown by a yard maybe half-yard otherwise I think this is a TD. ND CB had no clue where the ball was so if Marv can get his mitts on it, I think this is a TD. Still a great try by the boys and love the aggression.

3rd & 24 (0:10), tOSU 46 - Pretty impossible 3rd down so McCord makes a smart decision and hits his safety valve in Stover. Not much else you can do on this play I believe

4th Quarter

1st & 10 (8:22), tOSU 25 - Easy pass to Fleming for a yard gain. From what I can see not sure what else he can do here - maybe force a pass to Stover but don't think it would advise that

2nd & 9 (7:48), tOSU 26 - Nice job here by McCord to buy some time and get a tough throw out to Stover for some positive yards while being pursued by JJB. Got something out of nothing here

3rd & 5 (6:57), tOSU 30 - Great playcall to get X with this much open grass in front of him. Nice throw by McCord to get it to X in rhythm and help him maximize his YAC. S/o X for his lil juke at the end of the run; #12 on ND (I think that's his number?) had NO clue where X was going haha

1st & 15 (5:45), ND 35 - Great route by Henderson to get this open while going deep. McCord started getting some pressure to his left (JJB had a hell of a game man) so nice decision to heave it up there to Henderson. This is one of the few deep passes he underthrew last night and this one seemed a bit intentional and smart. 1) McCord couldn't step into it as well and 2) DPI is always a chance with underthrown balls where your target has a step on their defender. Good smart throw here by McCord

1st & 10 (5:39), ND 20 - McCord tries to buy some time so routes can develop/someone can try to get open. Nothing looks viable so he heaves it to the back of the end zone. In real time I was worried he didn't throw it far enough. Specifically I thought Morrison was going to do a Okie State tip interception on that throw; now in hindsight I can see Morrison stepped out before he got his fingers to the ball. Still, McCord if you could throw that a touch further next time I and my heart would appreciate it :)

1st & 10 (1:26), tOSU 35 - JJB gets a hand on the screen pass causing it to be incomplete. Not sure what tOSU or McCord could've done here differerently. I don't looooove this playcall but I guess I see the point of trying to catch them being aggressive and countering that. Still, don't love this playcall but I think I'm more bothered by it since it didn't give us any positive yards but shit happens so whatever lmao

2nd & 10 (1:22), tOSU 35 - McCord misses Henderson here plain and simple imo. I think McCord hits this throw 9 times out of 10 or maybe even 95 out of 100 lmao. But in the moment he happened to miss and Henderson easily gets a first down here if he can keep his momentum. Thought this was the beginning of the end but wow was I wrong :)

3rd & 10 (1:18), tOSU 35 - What a throw to EE! Great route to get open and great timing on the throw to get the ball to the spot exactly when it needed to be there. Pass blocking was super clean this play as well so s/o to the boys up front for giving McCord plenty of time on this play

1st & 10 (1:07), ND 42 - Given his options can't blame the hail mary to Fleming to see if he can make a play (especially throwing when getting hit). Other recievers seemed blanketed and McCord was stuck in the tackle box so this was as good as he could've done imo.

2nd & 10 (1:01), ND 42 - Good simple throw to game some yards and stop the clock. ND DL was in McCord's face so nice job to get some progress while also stopping the clock.

3rd & 7 (0:55), ND 39 - Liked how McCord stepped up in the pocket and tried to elongate the play to give everyone a chance. Henderson misses a block which allows the pressure to get there a touch earlier than McCord expects. I think he was aiming for Fleming who was covered really well at the time so kinda glad the ball went straight to the ground cause that could've been dangerous if the ball reached its intended target.

4th & 7 (0:50), ND 39 - AHHHH WHAT A PLAY! Wow what a playcall and amazing execution and effort from the boys! Fleming runs a great route and come up wide open in the midde of the field. McCord hits him in stride and Fleming is able to get the extra 3.1 YAC to extend the drive and keep our dreams alive. Great call, great route, great throw, great effort. Love this play!

1st & 10 (0:40), ND 32 - This should've been picked simple as that. McCord is a touch late on the throw and the ND safety is waiting on it. Not sure if McCord didn't see him at all or if he ref weirdly blocked the view but this should've been game over. But it wasn't :)

2nd & 10 (0:37), ND 32 - Great throw by McCord here; timing of the throw was really good as well. Obviously don't know McCord's angle he saw, but from the TV angle this window seemed insane to me. Great concentration from Marv to grab this ball in mid-flight while dealing with the ankle issues he had. Great execution from those 2 who have done it together starting in high school

1st & 10 (0:27), ND 13 - Jump ball attempt to Marv. Can't hate the idea of trying to get it to your best player at the end of the game -> Morrison defended the play really well imo.

2nd & 10 (0:22), ND 13 - McCord somehow doesn't get sacked but tried to avoid it by throwing it out of bounds. Ends up getting the intentional grounding called on him. I can't blame McCord for trying to throw the ball out of bounds and honestly credit him for staying upright/getting the ball off while getting pressured so much. Glad we at least had the timeout to negate the 10 second runoff which would've caused this play to be truly disastrous.

3rd & 19 (0:15), ND 22 - THEY DO IT AGAIN! ANOTHER GREAT THROW AND CATCH! Name a better duo than EE and being open near the first down marker. Not sure what ND was trying to do here defensively (I know in the post-game press conference Freeman mentioned the plan was to not allow a completion at all instead of allowing a completion before the line to gain. ND defense definitely failed on their job on this play) but EE finds the whole in the D and McCord rips a perfecty timed ball to EE for the first down. Interesting point on this play in hindsight, does McCord have a chance to rip it to Stover for a TD? I think he at least has a decent chance at this throw if he wants it. Right before McCord starts his windup for the EE throw, Stover gets past his man at the 13 yardline. As the play progresses, we know that there is only a safety near the right-hash/endzone who is remotely near Stover. I think if the timing of the throw is right, McCord has Stover for a TD here. Maybe Stover getting open helped the defenders sag off EE for a split-second allowing the throw we saw from McCord - who knows. All I do know for certain is that I can't be upset with how this drive ended :)

1st & Goal (0:07), ND 1 - Spike to stop the clock. Best throw of the night! /s

Shoutout Julian mf Fleming getting everyone to the line. That's leadership right there!

2nd & Goal (0:07), ND 1 - Tried to get it to Marv near the corner pylon. I think if this throw is a touch earlier Marv can have a chance to make a play. I remember this type of route vividly - both Fields and Stroud both loved throwing this route. I feel like 2 things are important for this type of route to work 1) WR needs to get separation after the break for the pylon 2) QB's throw needs to be on time so the potential WR separation can be taken advantage of. In hindsight, Marv get some separation after his cut; It's not a lot but it's some and that's all you can ask for! If the ball is thrown maybe 0.25 seconds before, I think this is a TD or at least has the chance to be a TD. But again, can't be too upset given how this drive ended :)

Parting Thoughts

Was McCord perfect? No. But I didn't expect him to be. I think he found a rhythm early this game and was able to build on it by ripping throws across the field for the entire game. Sure there were some throws/decisions I'm sure he'd like to have back and there were definitely some throws maybe he even got away with. I also would like to see him be a touch faster with some of his throws, especially some of those timing-related routes and throws. But what impressed me the most was how he always came back. No matter what happened McCord kept fighting. It didn't matter what the down and distance was, McCord was ready to sit back and rip the ball to help the Buckeyes win the game and he did that beautifully. I am super proud of him for his performance and think it is extremely exciting how far this team can go. After going through this exercise I was actually more impressed with his performance than what I initially thought after watching the game. There are plenty of things he, the offense, and the team as a whole can work on but I truly believe they all (but Kyle McCord especially) will get better with more game reps, experience, etc and take us all the way this year.

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