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The play within the play in Georgia State’s win

Georgia State linebacker Alonzo McGee celebrates after his team beat New Mexico State 34-32 in an NCAA college football game in Las Cruces, N.M., Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (Photo by Andres Leighton)

Georgia State linebacker Alonzo McGee celebrates after his team beat New Mexico State 34-32 in an NCAA college football game in Las Cruces, N.M., Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. (Photo by Andres Leighton)

There were many, many plays within Georgia State’s 34-32 win over New Mexico State that could be considered game-changing.

I wanted to focus on this play in which Alonzo McGee prevented a touchdown by the narrowest of margins.

The scenario

New Mexico State faces third and goal at the 3-yard line in the second quarter. Georgia State leads 17-7.

New Mexico State lines up with five offensive linemen, two wide receivers to the right and one to the left. Running back Larry Rose III lined up to the left of quarterback Tyler Rogers, who is in the shotgun.

Georgia State is in a base defense with three defensive lineman, three linebackers, two safeties and three cornerbacks locked up in man.

The play

At the snap, the offensive line slants to the left. Rogers and Rose also run left. Jerome Smith takes Rogers, forcing him to pitch to Rose at the 8-yard line.

It appears that Rose has a clear path to the end zone because there’s not a defender within yards of him.

McGee, a linebacker who was lined up inside of Smith, evades the block of the left tackle and begins to run parallel to the goal line, which proves important because it’s a good angle for pursuit.

McGee sprints the 5 yards and catches Rose just before the end zone, pushing him out two feet before he can cross the plane.

“I knew in my head I had him out of the gate when he pitched it to him,” McGee said. “I just played a little more physical than him.”

That wasn’t supposed to be what happened. Smith was supposed to take Roses and McGee was supposed to take Rogers, but they switched responsibilities just before the snap.

What’s next

Facing fourth and goal inside the 1-yard line, New Mexico State didn’t try to run. Their pass was incomplete and the Panthers held.

Now, the New Mexico State soon scored a touchdown on a fumble return and got the seven points, but McGee’s play prevented a score. Georgia State’s defense couldn’t do anything about the turnover by the offense, but it did what is needed to do against New Mexico State’s offense.


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