Stanford: A Numerical Perspective

After seeing Stanford's 13-10 loss to USC on film and digesting what happened to the Cardinal this past Saturday, Army coach Jeff Monken knows that he doesn't have to reinvent the wheel in terms of formulating both a plan and a motivational theme for his team. If Army can avoid giving up the big play and can force Stanford to earn every last point it scores, who knows what can happen?


THE STANFORD CARDINAL: A NUMERICAL PERSPECTIVE

Stanford’s 2013 season, one which intersected with Army’s at Michie Stadium, is worth examining, even as the Cardinal move into their 2014 season and acquire their own (new) reputation, a reputation for sloppiness. This year’s edition of Stanford is not last year’s. A lot of roster turnover on both sides of the ball has changed the way the Cardinal attack opponents to some extent. In terms of game film, Stanford is resorting to the wildcat formation earlier in games, since running back Tyler Gaffney is no longer around. The Cardinal are a little more inclined to throw the ball because of Gaffney’s absence. Yet, what is counterintuitively surprising about the Cardinal is that for all their losses on the defensive side of the ball, their defense was not the problem against USC. It was an offense that failed to score more than 10 points on nine separate drives that penetrated the USC 30-yard line. Placekicking was a disaster as well for Stanford, which couldn’t convert highly makeable field goals in a three-point loss to the Trojans.

Here’s a statistical evaluation of Stanford last season, one which shows how consistently the Cardinal were able to establish a certain kind of identity:

SITUATIONAL WIN-LOSS RECORDS IN 2013 (FBS ONLY)

Record when having more first downs than an opponent: 6-0.

Fewer: 5-1.

Statistical tie in this category (differential of zero): 0-1.

Record when having more yards than an opponent: 8-1.

Fewer: 3-1.

Record when having more rushing yards than an opponent: 10-1.

Fewer: 1-1.

Record when having more passing yards than an opponent: 4-1.

Fewer: 6-1.

Statistical tie: 1-0.

Record when having more penalties than an opponent: 4-2.

Fewer: 7-0.

Record when having more turnovers than an opponent: 3-2.

Fewer: 4-0.

Statistical tie: 4-0.

Record when having more time of possession than an opponent: 9-1.

Less time of possession: 2-1.

BALL SECURITY AND FUMBLE LUCK.

Fumbles in 2013: 20.

Fumbles lost: 9.

Interceptions thrown: 10.

TAKEAWAYS ON DEFENSE

Defensive fumbles recovered: 6 recoveries of 20 fumbles by opponents.

Interceptions made: 13.

DRIVE STARTS IN AN OPPONENT’S TERRITORY

Drives starting in an opponent’s half of the field (including the 50-yard line): 28.

Conference rank (Pac-12) in number of drive starts in an opponent’s half of the field: 1st out of 12 teams.

Points scored on these drives, assuming seven points for all touchdowns, regardless of PAT or conversion outcomes: 110 – 14 touchdowns, 4 field goals.

Territorial breakdown of drives and outcomes: 19 drives from the 50 to the opponent’s 36 – 8 touchdowns, 4 field goals; 4 drives from the 35 to the 21 – 2 touchdowns; 5 possessions starting in the red zone – 4 touchdowns.

Conference rank (Pac-12) in number of points scored on drives starting in an opponent’s half of the field: 2nd.

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