NEW YORK (Nov. 19, 2019) — The Joe Moore Award announced its annual selection of the semifinalists representing this year’s Most Outstanding Offensive Line Units in college football. The Joe Moore Award has presented the unique award since 2015. The ten semifinalists include #5 Alabama, #3 Clemson, #4 Georgia, Kentucky, #1 LSU, #2 Ohio State, #8 Oklahoma, #6 Oregon, Washington, and #14 Wisconsin.
This year’s semifinalists represent five conferences (in alphabetical order): ACC (1), BIG TEN (2) BIG 12 (1), PAC 12 (2), SEC (4). For games played through Nov. 16, this year’s semifinalists have a combined record of 86-15 and average 495.9 total yards per game (compared to the national average of 405.4 total yards per game). In addition, the following five O-line units received Honorable Mention recognition for their play this season (alphabetical order): Appalachian State, Air Force, Buffalo, Louisiana, and Navy.
“There was healthy debate this year which required a thorough reexamination of game tape,” said Cole Cubelic, SEC Network sideline analyst and Chairman of the Joe Moore Award Voting Committee. “We also solicited the opinions of more than thirty head coaches that had personally faced the O-line units under consideration. This award matters to the O-line community and the voting committee doesn’t take that responsibility lightly.”
“What’s fascinating is to see how positively correlated tough, physical, well-coached O-line play is to winning football,” said Aaron Taylor, CBS college football analyst and co-founder of the Joe Moore Award. Taylor played guard at the University of Notre Dame for the award’s namesake, the legendary offensive line Coach Joe Moore. “As the season winds down, performances in the “gotta have it” moments over the next couple of weeks should reveal all we need to know about which of these units is the Most Outstanding Offensive Line Unit in college football.”
The Joe Moore Award voting committee will announce its selection of finalists on Dec. 10, 2019, and the selection of the 2019 Joe Moore Award Winner will be made public after a surprise visit to the winning university’s campus in late December.
Semifinalist Criteria and Selection Process
The Joe Moore Award voting committee judges solely on six criteria: toughness, effort, teamwork, consistency, technique and finishing.
Evaluations for semifinalists were made primarily through weekly review of actual game film and offensive line coach-provided cut-ups on the DragonFly Division I Network. In addition, Stats Perform (formerly STATS Inc.), one of the industry leaders in AI and sports data analytics, provides advanced O-line data and analytics to give context and clarity and to help streamline the film evaluation process.
2019 Semifinalists at a Glance
· The Alabama offensive line has opened holes and provided time for a Crimson Tide offense that is No. 4 nationally in scoring (46.8 ppg), third in passing (347.7 ypg) and 8th in total offense (510.4 ypg).
· Alabama’s only offensive line has only surrendered 11 sacks all season and ranks 8th in sacks per game nationally (1.1) and seventh in sack percentage (3% or 1 every 29.7 attempts).
· The Tide’s top two running backs are averaging 5.6 yards per rush with 13 touchdowns.
Offensive line coach: Kyle Flood
Head Coach: Nick Saban
· Clemson is ranked tenth nationally with 260.55 rushing yards per game.
· The Tigers are tied for fifth in the nation with 10 sacks allowed.
· Clemson is tied for thirteenth nationally with twenty-three rushes of twenty or more yards.
Offensive line coach: Robbie Caldwell
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney
· Georgia’s O-line averages 6 feet 5 inches, 328.6 pounds, making it the biggest unit in Bulldog history.
· Georgia is ranked second nationally only giving up six sacks. Versus then #6 Florida, the Bulldogs did not surrender any sacks to a Gator team that leads the SEC with 38.
· The Bulldogs O-line has led a rushing game that is fourth in the SEC 208.6 rushing yards per game.
Offensive line coach: Sam Pittman
Head Coach: Kirby Smart
· The Wildcats’ running game is averaging 231.4 yards per game, good for second in the Southeastern Conference and 16th nationally.
· Four players have rushed for more than 300 yards (A.J. Rose, Lynn Bowden Jr., Kavosiey Smoke and Chris Rodriguez Jr.), including three with over 490 yards (Bowden, Rose, Smoke).
· The Wildcats have done this despite missing three departed starting linemen from a year ago, the school’s all-time leading rusher from last season, and this year’s top three quarterbacks are all injured – two are out for the season – and the current starting QB is a converted wide receiver.
Offensive line coach: John Schlarman
Head Coach: Mark Stoops
Ohio State (10-0)
· Ohio State ranks fourth nationally with 541.7 total yards per game.
· Ohio State leads the Big Ten Conference and is fourth nationally with 287.4 rushing yards per game.
· The Buckeyes are tied for sixth nationally with twenty-nine rushing plays of twenty or more yards.
Offensive line coach: Greg Studrawa
Head Coach: Ryan Day
· Oklahoma ranks third nationally with its 6.5 yards per rush.
· OU is averaging a nation-leading 8.8 yards per offensive play, which is 1.0 yard more than the team with the next-highest average (Alabama at 7.8).
· Last year’s Oklahoma team, behind the Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line, set the FBS single-season record by averaging 8.6 yards per play.
Offensive line coach: Bill Bedenbaugh
Head Coach: Lincoln Riley
· Leads the nation with 203 combined starts along the offensive line.
· Oregon ranks second in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (37.9) and leads the conference with 52 TDs.
· Oregon leads the Pac-12 in total rush yards (1,034) in the second half and is 19th nationally in yards per carry in the second half (5.30).
Offensive line coach: Alex Mirabal & Mario Cristobal
Head Coach: Mario Cristobal
· Washington's five starting offensive linemen have started 49 out of a possible 50 games this season (center Nick Harris missed one start; the other four have started all 10).
· Washington has allowed just 13 sacks this season (over 10 games), for just 84 yards in losses. That's second-best in the Pac-12.
· UW is second in the Pac-12 in fourth-down conversions – mainly on QB sneaks – at 68 percent (17-for 25). The Huskies' 17 fourth-down conversions are easily most in the league.
Offensive line coach: Scott Huff
Head Coach: Chris Petersen
· Wisconsin and it’s O-line have played in five games against teams ranked in the top 30 nationally in rushing defense, and the Badgers have averaged 232.6 yards in those games.
· The Badgers lead the nation in time of possession, holding the ball and average of 36:51 – 1 minute and 40 seconds longer than any other team.
· Wisconsin is second in the Big Ten Conference with 235.1 rushing yards per game.
Offensive line coach: Joe Rudolph
Head Coach: Paul Chryst
Honorable Mention at a Glance:
Air Force (8-2)
· Air Force leads the nation in fewest sacks allowed with four
· Air Force leads the MW and ranks second nationally with 313.5 rushing yards per game.
· Air Force is second in the MW and sixth nationally in time of possession (34:26).
Appalachian State (9-1)
· Appalachian State is eighteenth in rushing yards per game with 223.8.
· Buffalo leads Mid-American Conference and are fourth nationally with just 8 sacks allowed.
· Leads the Sun Belt Conference with 278.4 rushing yards per game.
· Navy leads the nation in rushing, averaging 349.3 yards per game.
· Navy’s O-line paves the way for 5.88 yards per carry, fifth best in the country and 97 run plays of 10 yards or more, the most in the country.
· The Midshipmen have totaled 31 run plays of 20 yards or more, fourth best in the country.
The Joe Moore Award voting committee comprises 13 individuals who are highly knowledgeable about offensive line play, including former linemen, coaches, talent evaluators and media analysts. This group conducts in-depth analysis by reviewing game tape every week of the season to assess both the fundamentals and subtleties of overall O-line performance.
The 2018 voting committee includes Chairman Cole Cubelic (Auburn, SEC Network); Charles Arbuckle (UCLA, Indianapolis Colts); Randy Cross (UCLA, San Francisco 49ers); Gerry DiNardo (Notre Dame, head coach at LSU); Mike Golic, Jr. (Notre Dame, ESPN); Dave Harding (Duke, Blue Devil Network); Pat Hill (head coach at Fresno State, O-line coach at Atlanta Falcons); Barrett Jones (Alabama, St. Louis Rams); Duke Manyweather (Humboldt State, player and coach); Geoff Schwartz (Oregon, Carolina Panthers); Phil Steele (publisher or Phil Steele’s College Football Preview, ESPN); Aaron Taylor (Notre Dame, Green Bay Packers); and Lance Zierlein (NFL draft analyst, NFL.com).
After the finalists are selected on December 10, a vote will be held to select the 2019 recipient of the Joe Moore Award by a voting body of 200-plus members. This voting body includes all of the current offensive line coaches at the Division I/FBS level, as well as former players, coaches, colleagues of Coach Moore and select media members.
In addition to reviewing game tape every week of the season, the Joe Moore Award voting committee will later go through each of the finalists’ season-long highlight reels and multiple back-to-back quarters of game film.