FUN WITH NUMBERS
FIELD POSITION: The dominant thread running through Cal's first two games is the significant starting field position advantaged that they've earned over the opposition. Against NMSU, Cal started on their 48 (and if you exclude the last possession, which consisted of one kneeldown play, their starting position was the NMSU 49), compared to NMSU's average start of their 23. During the course of the game, Cal had a net advantage of 272 yards (which is slightly less than the 278 yard advantage they had against Baylor. In the second half, Cal ran 22 of their 25 offensive plays in NMSU territory.
If you factor in starting field position advantage, which is a factor of special teams play and turnovers, then the total yardage difference goes from -38 to +234 -- which is a better measure of how the game went.
COMING OUT STRONG: Cal gained 120 yards in the 1st quarter on Saturday, against Baylor they gained 138 yards in the 1st quarter.
Disclaimer + quibble: These numbers may not jibe completely with the box score -- for one) I tend to trust my eyes and ears, two) official box scores have been known to be wrong, three) for some of the numbers that I churn out, there's a highly subjective nature to them and I can refer back to my notes a lot easier than I can try to refer to a play-by-play (plus, I don't have to worry about tracking it down).
The other big difference is that I include sack yardage as passing. There will always be a handful of plays in any game when the QB goes down and it's not clear if it was a broken pass or a broken run. In a game like yesterday's, where there were several rollout sweeps that looked more like direct runs than original pass plays, deciding which classification (pass or run) to use requires lots of subjective judgment.
However, since the NCAA classifies all sacks as runs, a semantic argument could be made about whether or not you can have a sack on a run play, thus bringing into question whether sacks, in a statistical sense, should be measured by either the NCAA or its member institutions. But however backwards the NCAA method is, to their credit at least they attempt to associate sack yardage with a QBs stats, unlike the NFL which buries sacks from individual rushing or passing yardage but keeps a separate team stat for them.
Cal 1st Down: 26-87 3.1 (Run: 12/30, 2.5; Pass: 14/57, 4.1)
Cal 2nd Down: 21-133, 6.3 (Run: 10/64, 6.4; Pass: 11/69, 6.3)
Cal 3rd Down: 13-51, 4.0 (Run: 5/10, 2.0; Pass: 8/41, 5.1)
Cal 4th Down: 2-21, 10.5 (Run: 1/15, 15.0; Pass: 1/6, 6.0)
Cal Total: 62-292 4.7 (Run: 28/119, 4.2; Pass: 34/173, 5.1)
NMSU 1st Down: 33-146, 4.4 (Run: 19/71, 3.7; Pass: 14/75, 5.4)
NMSU 2nd Down: 27-92, 3.4 (Run: 14/73, 5.2; Pass: 13/19, 1.5)
NMSU 3rd Down: 15-62, 4.1 (Run: 5/16, 3.2; Pass: 10/46, 4.6)
NMSU 4th Down: 3-30. 10.0 (Run: 2/4, 2.0; Pass: 1/26, 26.0)
MSU Total: 78-330, 4.2 (Run: 40/164, 4.1; Pass 38/166, 4.4)
Cal 1st quarter: 18-120, 6.7 (Run: 7/43, 6.1; Pass: 11/77, 7.0)
Cal 2nd quarter: 19-62, 3.3 (Run: 7/37, 5.3; Pass: 12/25, 2.1)
Cal 3rd quarter: 10-44, 4.4 (Run: 3/15, 5.0; Pass: 7/29, 4.1)
Cal 4th quarter: 15-66, 4.4 (Run: 11/24, 2.2; Pass: 4/42, 10.5)
Cal Total: 62-292, 4.7 (Run: 28/119, 4.2; Pass: 34/173, 5.1)
NMSU 1st quarter: 19-89, 4.7 (Run: 10/47, 4.7; Pass: 9/42, 4.7)
NMSU 2nd quarter: 14-53, 3.8 (Run: 6/37, 6.2; Pass: 8/16, 2.0)
NMSU 3rd quarter: 24-85, 3.5 (Run: 15/37, 2.5; Pass: 9/48, 5.3)
NMSU 4th quarter: 21-103, 4.9 (Run: 9/43, 4.8; Pass: 12/60, 5.0)
NMSU Total: 78-330, 4.2 (Run: 40/164, 4.1; Pass 38/166, 4.4)
STARTING FIELD POSITION
California: 11 poss., avg. starting field position: 48.0
NMSU: 11 poss., avg. starting field position: 23.3
INSIDE OPPONENT'S 30
California: 6 poss: 4 TD, 2 FG
Cal scoring %: 6/6 -- 100.0%
NMSU: 3 poss: 1 TD, 2 FG
NMSU scoring %: 3/3 -- 100.0%
Comment: Many commentators will refer to the red zone as being within the 20. But if a team's offense is within the opposition 30, it should be considered within scoring position. If a team has a scoring play longer than 30 yards, it's not included in the above table.
CAL-Boller, 32 att, 19 comp, 181 yds, 8 first downs, 2 TD, 0 INT, 1 sack for -10 yds, 1 scramble for 2 yds, 34 plays for 173 yds, 5.1 avg, 29.4% success (10/34)
NMSU-Pierce, 18 att, 12 comp, 121 yds, 6 first downs, 0 TD, 0 INT, 5 sack for -33 yds, 3 scrambles for 18 yds, 26 plays for 106 yds, 4.1 avg, 23.1% success (6/26)
NMSU-Dombrowski, 9 att, 4 comp, 40 yds, 3 first downs, 1 TD, 0 INT, 1 sacks for -7 yds, 2 scrambles for 27 yds, 12 plays for 60 yds, 5.0 avg, 33.3% success (4/12)
Comment: The success percentage is defined as (first downs (via passing or scrambling) plus touchdowns) divided by (pass attempts plus number of sacks plus number of scrambles). The idea is to measure how often a quarterback is successful in helping the team to maintain possession (via first down) or score. It's not meant to be an all-encompassing measure of a QB's effectiveness. If it were, then allowances would have to be made for interceptions, interceptions for touchdowns, sacks, and a special knucklehead factor would have to be incorporated for sacks that take a team out of field goal range.
Pierce's stats are less impressive when his sacks and scrambles are figured in. On 8 of his 26 pass plays (31%), he wasn't able to even attempt his pass. By comparison, Boller was only unable to throw a pass on 2 out of 34 pass plays (6%).
Cal total: 13
Pass dropped: 4
Pass broken up: 3
Pass thrown long: 3
Caught OB: 1
Pass low: 1
Pass thrown away: 1
NMSU total: 11
Pass deflected at line: 3
Pass behind receiver: 2
Pass thrown long: 2
Pass low: 2
Pass dropped: 1
Pass high: 1
Comment: Cal's four dropped passes were up from last week's zero. On one of the drops, the pass was thrown slightly behind the receiver, but the receiver had both hands on the ball and probably should have caught it.The three NMSU blocked/deflected passes all occurred during the fourth quarter.
THIRD DOWN POWER%
This measures how often a defense is pushing the opposition into a third down situation by dividing the number of third down situations by the number of first down situations. If this number is low, then the defense isn't doing a good job.
Cal - 45.5%
NMSU - 52.0%
This stat takes the total yardage of the five biggest plays the defense gives up and divides them by the total yardage the defense surrenders. From a consistency standpoint, a defense would want this percentage to be relatively low. It's technically possible for a team to have a low percentage while giving up 40 gains of 15 to 20 yards, but it's also highly unlikely.
Cal - 34.6% (down from 52.2% vs. Baylor)
NMSU - 36.0%
ON THE OTHER SIDE
The number of plays run on the opponents' territory divided by total plays.
Cal - 61.2% (38/62)
NMSU - 41.0% (32/78)
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