We're 15 plays into the top 50 countdown and thus far defensive backs and wide receivers have dominated the spots. That partially continues as we round out the bottom 20 with a pair of interceptions making the list. Running backs rule the day instead of receivers, led by Marcus Mason.
No. 35 - Stanford has a touchdown ... Deone Bucannon says nope
Damante Horton loved to jump routes. In some occasions that led to a pick-six. In others it led to him being burned badly. The latter was the case against Stanford, but thankfully for Horton, Deone Bucannon had his back. This play looked like a touchdown all the way before Bucannon ranged over and came away with the interception.
No. 34 - Halliday finds West for the score
Theron West broke out in a big way in the New Mexico bowl, including this touchdown reception. What started out as a simple route into the flat turned into a 28-yard touchdown catch in the endzone. That's thanks in large part to the offensive line which held up in pass protection giving Connor Halliday a lot of time to operate. Don't overlook the impressive chip block from Marcus Mason. He knocked a defensive end back, giving Halliday just enough time to get off the pass.
No. 33 - Nice try, Idaho
Bucannon showed he could lay opposing players out in his very first collegiate game. His coverage skills came a long way during his career and plays like this were a reason he was a first-round pick. He read this play all the way and broke on the ball to snag the interception. That poor Idaho quarterback never saw it coming.
No. 32 - Marcus Mason cuts back and in for the score
This just may be the best running play from last season. All five offensive linemen win their battles and do an excellent job of opening a running lane for Mason. The right guard helps on a double team initially, then comes off the block to catch a linebacker and seal the running lane. Mason takes it from there, reading the hole perfectly and cutting at just the right moment to head into the endzone untouched. I'm glad this GIF loops, because I could watch it for an hour.
No. 31 - Mason breaks off 41 yards against Cal
It's always nice when a short pass to a running back turns into an explosive play. That was the case here with Mason picking up 41 yards against California. It starts at the line of scrimmage with Brett Bartolone and Vince Mayle getting blocks to spring Mason. It looks like Bartolone is beat, but Mason helps him out by avoiding the defender and Bartolone finishes it off with a pancake block. It's all Mason from there. He stepped out of a tackle which set him free down the sideline for an extra 35 yards. I love the effort on this play as you can see Teondray Caldwell, Kristoff Williams and Gunnar Eklund busting it down field to try and catch a block. Mason was very close to taking this play 70 yards for a touchdown.
The countdown will take the weekend off, but resume on Monday with Nos. 30-25. Things will really heat up next week with one of my favorite plays of the season in the next installment.