Play call: 34/36 trap
Nebraskas basic inside trap was honored by Sports Illustrated as one of college football's greatest plays. It is, of course, very deserving of that honor. Its place in Big Red lore was cemented as Corey Schlessinger stumbled into the Orange Bowl end zone for the winning touchdown and Tom Osborne's first national title on a 36 trap.
In its most basic form, this trap calls for the playside guard and tackle to go to linebackers, inviting the defensive tackle to cross the line into the trap from the backside guard.
The center fills away from the play to cover for the pulling guard. The trap attacks the first down lineman on playside of the center. The term trap comes from the idea that the lineman is left unblocked by the playside linemen and thinks he's home free until he is walloped by the pulling guard. It has been a part of football for decades, it just took Nebraska to perfect the art. The fullback takes a path away from the call as he begins a trap, running at the backside foot of the center.
NU quarterbacks used to open away from the play to hand off the trap and then reverse to run out the option fake. In recent years this has changed to a reverse pivot step on the backside foot, which opens the path to the center for the fullback. After receiving the handoff the fullback follows the pulling guard to the hole called (over the other guard). The IB and QB still fake option (wall option).
To defeat inside traps, defensive tackles often are taught to close down when they are unblocked. Instead of moving up field, they slide toward the center with the idea of squeezing the play. Sometimes Nebraska fullbacks running the trap sidestep immediately after taking the handoff. This usually indicates that the trapped DT closed down and the NU pulling guard adjusted his block from a kick out to a log in (pinning the DT inside).
11/19 Wall option backfield action mirrors the inside trap. The backside guard also pulls on wall option, but continues outside to make his block.
34/36 Smash uses the same backfield action and handoff to the FB, but the line blocking is straight ahead. I'm not sure if it is inside zone blocking or more like the wedge blocking on a QB sneak (which NU also calls a Blast). QB bootlegs away on this action, instead of running wall option.
34/36 Quarterback Keep appeared in 1997 as Scott Frost shredded Washington with it for a couple end zone fist pumps. This play starts like trap but the QB fakes to the fullback and follows the IB through the off-tackle hole. This is an isolation play for the quarterback, though TV announcers constantly call it an option. Perhaps no Husker play causes more confusion in the broadcast booth. Some announcers and Husker fans have adopted the misnomer mid-line option. It seems that of the ABC and FOX announcers that typically call Nebraska games these days, only Gary danielson of ABC gets this one right. In the 1999 Big XII title game, he featured the play, saying that this "looks like an option and quacks like an option, but it isnt an option. Folks, it cant be an option if there is nobody to pitch to!"
The Huskers have also run play-action off of the inside trap action, especially in Double Wing.
Formations: Nebraska runs 34/36 Trap out of any fullback formation. Osborne ran it out of Double Wing with I-back Ahman Green.