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How Ole Miss used the swing pass to unlock big plays against Fresno State

The Rebs kept sending running backs into the flats and the defense kept taking the bait.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

On a 3rd-and-6 early in Ole Miss' opening drive against Fresno State, Chad Kelly dumped a pass off in the flat to Jaylen Walton, who smoked past a pair of defenders, brushed off another and cruised 53 yards before finally being dragged down. A holding call on Laquon Treadwell brought the play back, but the damage was done: the Fresno defense began overcompensating to guard Walton in the flats, a mistake that Kelly and the Rebel offense exploited for several big plays as they built a record-breaking 28-0 first quarter lead.

Safeties and linebackers started to crash down every time they saw a Rebel back running the swing route, opening up holes in the secondary behind them. On the five plays that a running back ran that route in the first quarter, the Rebs averaged 21.2 yards (adding back the yardage stripped away by Treadwell's hold) and picked up a score.

Let's take a look at three of those plays, all of which come on Ole Miss' third drive of the game.

Pack gets wide open

The swing routes usually ran the same way: a back goes in motion towards the strong side of the field, drawing the defense's attention before the play even starts. Once the ball is snapped, he continues down the line to set the bait.

Markell Pack's drop screws this play up, but look how open he is. That's because three -- yea, three -- defenders are biting on the swing route. The linebacker runs over, the nickle back stays shallow and the safety sprints in.

swing pass #1(new)

Core hauls in a long reception

This time the swing route is on the non-play side. But Fresno is playing a single high safety, who's briefly drawn to the strong side by the motion and Swag's ball fake.

swing pass #2

That leaves Cody Core alone with a single defender and no help over the top. Core beats his man and Kelly fits it in for a gain of 33 yards, setting up the next play...

Adeboyejo finds the end zone

No way the defense is gonna bite on the swing route twice in a row, right? Wrong. This is literally the very next play.

Fresno is playing straight man defense on the two outside receivers (including Adeboyejo, who's in the slot), but the linebackers are playing an underneath zone. That should be a perfect defense for stopping Adeboyejo's post route, but the play-side linebacker gets sucked in by Walton, giving Swag an open throwing lane to the end zone.

swing route #3

The route also affects the guy covering Adeboyejo, who gets caught peeking into the backfield long enough to let Quincy blow by him. Like an outfielder misreading a fly ball, his first step is forward instead of back.

This is a great weapon to lure in the defense for the big play, but don't expect Kirby Smart's unit to be a easily fooled this weekend in Tuscaloosa.