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Chalk Talk: The One Play OSU Used to Gash South Alabama



The Cowboys’ offense looked impressive in their 44-7 victory over South Alabama last Friday. OSU successfully used a number of different plays in a 505-yard performance against the Jaguars, but one play in particular yielded notable success.

An RPO (run-pass option), as we’ve talked about several times, combines run and pass plays and gives the quarterback options to where the ball goes. Most RPOs attach screens or quick passes near the line of scrimmage. Although the Cowboys do that as well, they also tag deep concepts to stretch the field vertically. The Cowboys frequently use RPOs, especially with tempo, to give Rudolph multiple options. They successfully used one RPO, and specifically route attachment in particular, multiple times against South Alabama.

The Cowboys frequently attached a post route to both their inside and lead zone plays. In the Cowboys’ first touchdown, they ran a play that pairs a wide lead zone with a bubble-post route combination on the two-receiver side.

In this play, the quarterback reads the safety, often referred to as the “rat,” on the two-receiver side. If the “rat” stays in coverage when the ball is snapped, the quarterback knows to hand the ball off.

But if the quarterback sees him rush toward the box, then it leaves outside receiver one-on-one running toward the vacant area. South Alabama got caught doing this multiple times, and OSU scored on it twice. Once in the first quarter:

And once in the third:

The Cowboys ran a true RPO with a post route attached eight times against USA. It has become one of their frequent go-to plays when they’re operating in high tempo. RPOs have always been a staple of OSU’s offense, but as quickly as they’ve been going this season, the Pokes have put a large focus on them. Try and identify when OSU uses an RPO next week against Pittsburgh, because it’s more than likely the Pokes will use plenty of them.


What was your favorite part of the offense against South Alabama? Leave your opinions in the comments below!

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