- Steve Muench, Scouts Inc.
Pittsburgh QB Bill Stull vs. Connecticut's pass defense
Stull completed 10 of 18 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in Pittsburgh's 34-10 win over Connecticut. He threw both of his touchdown passes in the third quarter, and the first comes on a first-and-10 play with the ball at Pittsburgh's 39-yard line. The Panthers line up in the I-formation with WR Derek Kinder in the right slot. Stull executes a play-action fake to RB LeSean McCoy and the Huskies' linebackers jump up and create space over the middle. Kinder gets a clean release because no one lines up over his head and exploits the void by running a post route. Stull sees Kinder break free and delivers the ball before the safety can step up to make the play. Just as importantly, Kinder doesn't have to break stride to make the catch, so he is in excellent position to run and picks up more than 40 yards after the catch on his way to the end zone.
Stull's second touchdown comes on a first-and-10 play from Connecticut's 28-yard line. Pittsburgh again runs play-action out of the I-formation, but this time WR Kevan Smith lines up wide right and motions into the backfield as if Stull is going to hand him the ball. The entire Huskies defense bites and starts to flow with Smith before realizing Stull has kept the ball. Meanwhile, TE Nate Byham, who also lined up on the right, starts inside as if he's going to a block a linebacker before breaking upfield and running a flag route. Stull locates him before the coverage can recover and lofts the ball to his outside shoulder for the relatively easy score.
McCoy is one of the most talented backs in the nation, and he makes the Panthers' play-action package difficult to defend, which admittedly made Stull's job much easier on both scoring throws. However, Stull did his job by finding the open man and accurately delivering the ball.
Steve Muench's weekly film report examines tape of Pittsburgh QB Bill Stull, Buffalo WR Naaman Roosevelt and Virginia Tech's young offensive backfield.