Pro prospect quarterback Blake Bortles picks apart Lions' defense - The Daily Collegian: Football

Welcome!
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Pro prospect quarterback Blake Bortles picks apart Lions' defense

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, September 14, 2013 11:56 pm

Blake Bortles stepped back in the pocket as the clock dwindled and did the one thing he and his Central Florida squad refused to do all day — roll over.

The UCF quarterback took himself to the ground once the clock struck zero to take a knee and finalize the visiting team’s 34-31 victory over Penn State. Bortles orchestrated a fast-paced Knight offense to the upset with 288 passing yards and three passing touchdowns, often fitting long passes into tight windows to deflate the Nittany Lions’ defense.

The junior, who Penn State coach Bill O’Brien referred to as a pro prospect earlier this week, picked apart the Lions’ secondary from the start, leading the Knights’ 13-play, 89-yard drive with ease to begin the game.

Lions’ defensive coordinator John Butler said Bortles did a great job of neutralizing the Lions’ pass rush — which amassed zero sacks — by not giving the defensive line much time to finish their rushing patterns.

“Quick decision making,” Butler said of Bortles’ best trait. “He was making his decision about where he wanted to throw the ball quickly. He threw it, and the receivers made plays.”

The junior quarterback also found ways to hurt the Lions with the deep ball, targeting an inexperienced secondary group that often came up short in coverage.

With the Knights leading 21-10 in the middle of the third quarter, Bortles felt the pressure on 2nd-and-10 and lofted a high-arching pass right into Josh Reese’s outstretched arms for the touchdown to give the Knights an 18-point lead.

This was one of many instances when Bortles bought time in the pocket before fitting a deep pass into a small area, which is exactly what O'Brien said makes defending him such a difficult task.

“Any time you have a quarterback like that with a strong arm, who’s big and can stand in the pocket and can run, it’s a very difficult challenge,” O’Brien said. “He played a great game tonight. Credit to him. I think he’s a heck of a player.”

Even when Penn State clawed back into the game late in the second half, bringing bursts of energy back into the Beaver Stadium crowd, Bortles answered.

The Lions appeared to have rejuvenated the crowd after a 4-play, 75-yard drive brought them right back within 11 points. But, the Knights’ quarterback tossed two more passes to Reese, the second for 44 yards, to ensure they’d at least get points back on the board.

Bortles ultimately came within inches of scoring on a third-down scramble, and although the Knights ended up settling for a field goal, UCF coach George O’Leary said it was these types of third-down decisions that set the Knights apart.

“I thought there were a couple of key plays I thought that Bortles made downfield on some key third-downs that were real critical. I thought that was the difference in the game.”

Butler said Bortles’ dominant performance brought to light several issues in the Lions’ pass coverage, which he expects his young defense to improve upon.

However, the defensive coordinator said the performance also cemented their initial thought that the quarterback was a legitimate pro prospect.

And for Bortles, who tossed the football into the air after rolling over to take on the last play, the small conference team’s victory derived from taking what the Lions’ defense gave the Knights.

“It's huge,” Bortles said after the game. “Penn State is such a tradition and program. Just historic, awesome with the things they have done. And for us to come in here and have an opportunity to play them, we just took advantage of it and made the best out of our chances.”

More about

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Loading…
Loading…

Total Votes: 0

Loading…

NFL Draft Coverage

DaQuan Jones' father reacts to son's drafting
Posted: May 12, 2014

DaQuan Jones' father endured many hardships while raising his son, but it all paid off Saturday as the Tennessee Titans drafted DaQuan.

Comments (0)
Glenn Carson, Garry Gilliam sign deals as undrafted free agents
Posted: May 10, 2014

Former Nittany Lions Garry Gilliam and Glenn Carson signed with NFL teams after going undrafted. 

Comments (0)
Former Nittany Lions find NFL homes
Posted: May 11, 2014

Forget about Silas Redd and Khairi Fortt? Two NFL teams didn't

Comments (0)
NFL Draft Recap
Posted: May 11, 2014

Three former Nittany Lions were drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft. 

Comments (0)
Tennessee Titans draft DaQuan Jones in the fourth round
Posted: May 10, 2014

DaQuan Jones becomes the second Penn State player to get drafted as the Tennessee Titans selected him.

Comments (0)
Math meets football: Twitter adores John Urschel
Posted: May 10, 2014

Shortly after the Baltimore Ravens drafted John Urschel with the No. 175 pick in the fifth round, fans and teammates took to Twitter to discuss their thoughts.

Comments (0)
Fans, teammates react to Allen Robinson getting drafted
Posted: May 09, 2014

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected wide receiver Allen Robinson with the No. 61 overall pick in the second round. Robinson watched as 10 wide receivers were picked before the Jaguars ended his wait.

Comments (0)
Jacksonville Jaguars draft Allen Robinson in 2nd round of NFL Draft
Posted: May 09, 2014

The Jaguars ended wide receiver Allen Robinson's wait as they selected him with the No. 61 overall pick in the second round. 

Comments (0)
John Urschel's diary: Draft day arrives
Posted: May 09, 2014

John Urschel continues his journal series for the Associated Press with his newest post: Draft Day. 

Comments (0)
Matt McGloin's moxie running dry in Oakland?
Posted: May 09, 2014

With the Oakland Raiders selecting Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr with the No. 36 pick in the second round, the Matt McGloin era in Oakland might be coming to an end.

Comments (0)