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MGN Film Room: Mason Fine to Jaelon Darden

Mason Fine did not throw for 400 yards against Arkansas, nor did he complete 70% passing but he did have a nice passing game. One of the key questions coming into this season was whether or not the offensive line could keep Fine upright. At the end of last season, Fine was sacked 19 times in the final three games.

Arkansas’s defensive line was a concern coming into this one, but other than some tipped balls, they never posed a real threat. The Razorbacks were forced to bring pressure once they were down big and Mason Fine and company were able to kill the game with some beautiful passes.

Check these out.

The first was a beautiful recognition of the situation. Arkansas was showing a pressure look and Fine placed this beautifully. The line gave him enough time to look off the safety and come back to the throw.

Before the play we see Arkansas show two high safeties but the corner shifts over to show pressure. The field side defensive back drops down into press coverage, but still gives Darden some room. This is his mistake.

Pre-snap look, Ark vs North Texas
Pre-snap look, Ark vs North Texas

Darden smokes him, quickly getting outside leverage and a two-step advantage. Fine gives the single-high safety a quick look to the right to freeze him before laying a soft kiss of a pass onto Darden. The only thing that could have been better on this is if Fine led him ever so slightly and Darden got six. Still, this is a great play and should give every opponent pause. Arkansas brought pressure and NT handled it nicely.

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Later, a similar scenario presented itself. Arkansas again tried to bring pressure with a linebacker but left one man in a zone underneath. They still tried to go man on the outside, though and North Texas again took advantage.

Pre-snap, trips left. Arkansas vs NT
Pre-snap, trips left. Arkansas vs NT

Mason burns him deep with the same play — a four verticals call from trips left.

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The play before the one shown was yet another Arkansas pressure look that North Texas beat with a slant to Mike Lawrence that was called back for holding on the tackle. Last year that would have been a drive killer. Instead, NT went down and got a FG to go up 34-10.

This NT pass game is fun.