<p class=txt>Back in the 1974 season, Cal's defensive unit was nicknamed the "Rubber Band Defense" for its ability to give up yards, but stiffen up when the opposition reached scoring position. Such a label would certainly be appropriate for this year's team. On Saturday, UCLA managed to have the ball five times inside of Cal's 30 yard line, but only managed 10 points.

By comparison, Cal had the ball only three times inside the Bruins' 30-yard line, but managed two touchdowns and a field goal.

Speaking of the 70s, how many of you started having bad flashback when UCLA sent in a Sciarra to enter the game as QB for UCLA? He was the source of many a headache for Cal fans back then running the option as the Bruins proved to be the major stumbling block for Cal in '74 and '75. However, while UCLA didn't suffer much offensive drop off when they went from Paus to Olson, it fell off to point of being nonexistent when Sciarra entered.

Cal's pass rush did an outstanding job with seven sacks and hitting the quarterback twice while throwing (resulting in two incompletes). Surprisingly, UCLA's quarterbacks had no scrambles which is likely due to a combination of good containment by Cal's defensive line and odd quarterback coaching by UCLA.

Cal's 8 three-and-outs were a season high. The previous season highs were 5 against Air Force and 4 against USC. Defensively, Cal forced 4 three-and-outs, which ties their conferences high which they had against Washington. The defense forced 8 of them against Baylor.

Seven games into the season and Cal hasn't lost a game by more than 10 points. The last time Cal went this far without a big loss was 1996 when they lost to Arizona State by 28 points in game 9 of the season.

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: 24-49, 2.1 (Run: 15/41, 2.8; Pass: 9/8, 0.9)
Cal 2nd Down: 22-98, 4.4 (Run: 11/38, 3.5; Pass: 11/60, 5.5)
Cal 3rd Down: 17-66, 3.8 (Run: 3/15, 5.0; Pass: 14/51, 3.6)
Cal 4th Down: 1-(-38), -38.0 (Run: 1/-38, -38.0; Pass: 0/0, 0.0)
Cal 2pt Conv: 0-0, 0.0 (Run: 0/0, 0.0; Pass: 0/0, 0.0)
Cal Total: 64-175 2.7 (Run: 30/56, 1.8; Pass: 34/119, 3.5)

UCLA 1st Down: 28-104, 3.7 (Run: 16/41, 2.6; Pass: 12/63, 5.3)
UCLA 2nd Down: 23-80, 5.7 (Run: 14/65, 4.6; Pass: 9/15, 1.7)
UCLA 3rd Down: 16-71, 4.5 (Run: 2/-2, -1.0; Pass: 14/73, 5.2) 
UCLA 4th Down: 1-(-23), -23.0 (Run: 0/0, 0.0; Pass: 1/-23, -23.0) 
UCLA 2pt conv: 0-0, 0.0 (Run: 0/0, 0.0; Pass: 0/0, 0.0)
UCLA Total: 68-232, 3.4 (Run: 32/104, 3.3; Pass 36/128, 3.6)

Comment: Neither Cal nor UCLA had a particular down/play choice where they were particularly successful. Cal averaged only 2.1 yards on 1st down, while UCLA did mildly better with a 3.7 average.

Taking away the last play, Cal's rushing average would have gone from 1.6 to 3.0. The total offensive play average would have gone from 2.7 to 3.4.

Cal 1st quarter: 14-61, 4.4 (Run: 4/6, 1.5; Pass: 10/55, 5.5)
Cal 2nd quarter: 20-97, 4.2 (Run: 8/54, 6.7; Pass: 12/43, 3.6)
Cal 3rd quarter: 9-17, 1.9 (Run: 4/7, 1.7; Pass: 5/10, 2.0)
Cal 4th quarter: 21-0, 0.0 (Run: 14/-11, -0.8; Pass: 7/11, 1.6)
Cal Total: 64-175 2.7 (Run: 30/56, 1.8; Pass: 34/119, 3.5)

UCLA 1st quarter: 18-76, 4.1 (Run: 8/26, 3.2; Pass: 10/50, 5.0)
UCLA 2nd quarter: 15-59, 4.0 (Run: 5/23, 4.6; Pass: 10/36, 3.6)
UCLA 3rd quarter: 20-124, 6.2 (Run: 13/49, 3.8; Pass: 8/57, 7.1)
UCLA 4th quarter: 15-(-27), -1.8 (Run: 6/6, 1.0; Pass: 9/-33, -3.7)
UCLA Total: 68-232, 3.4 (Run: 32/104, 3.3; Pass 36/128, 3.6)

Comment: The fourth quarter was surprisingly riveting even though both teams ran 36 plays for a combined -27 yards. Even if one were to discount the -38 yard play at the end of the game, the quarter's total offensive total would be 11 yards.

Cal's third-quarter woes continue. The 3rd quarter yardage total for conference games:
vs. WSU -- 114-202 (-88)
vs. UW -- 78-63 (+15)
vs. USC -- 34-129 (-95)
vs. UCLA -- 17-124 (-107)
TOTAL -- 243-518 (-275)

The fourth quarter looks slightly better:
vs. WSU - 81-148 (-67)
vs. UW - 79-123 (-44)
vs. USC - 67-108 (-41)
vs. UCLA - 0-(-27) (+27)
TOTAL -- 227-352 (-125)

This was the first time that Cal outgained a conference opponent in the fourth quarter, although with 0 yards of output, one would use the term "outgained" loosely.

Cal: 15 poss., avg. starting field position: 31.1 
UCLA: 14 poss., avg. starting field position: 36.2

Note: Cal had a +19 yard advantage in the first half, but a -59 yard deficit in the second half. In the fourth quarter, UCLA had a 94 yard advantage in starting field position.

California: 3 poss: 2 TD, 1 FG
Cal scoring %: 3/3 -- 100.0%
Cal max points possible: 21
Cal max points % -- 81%

UCLA: 5 poss: 2 turnovers, 1 TD, 1 FG, 1 FG blocked 
UCLA scoring %: 2/5 -- 40%
UCLA max points possible: 35
UCLA max points % -- 29%

Comment: During the past five games -- in other words, everything except Baylor and New Mexico State -- Cal has scored 71% of all possible points in the blue zone (inside the opponent's 30), compared to the opponent's 58%. Put another way, if every team scored touchdowns when inside the other team's 30, Cal would have been outscored 224-196. Instead, because of offensive efficiency and defensive effectiveness, Cal holds an edge 139-129. 

CAL-Kyle Boller, 31 att, 14 comp, 135 yds, 4 first downs, 1 TD, 0 INT, 3 sacks for -16 yds, 0 scrambles for 0 yds, 0 pen. for 0 yds -- 34 plays for 119 yds, 3.5 avg, 14.7% success (5/34)
UCLA-Paus, 15 att, 10 comp, 135 yds, 6 first downs, 0 TD, 0 INT, 4 sacks for -29 yds, 0 scrambles for 0 yds, 0 pen. for 0 yds -- 19 plays for 106 yds, 5.6 avg, 31.6% success (6/19)
UCLA-Olson, 7 att, 5 comp, 58 yds, 3 first downs, 0 TD, 0 INT, 1 sack for -3 yds, 0 scrambles for 0 yds, 0 pen. for 0 yds -- 8 plays for 55 yds, 6.9 avg, 37.5% success (3/8)
UCLA-Sciarra, 7 att, 1 comp, 10 yds, 1 first downs, 0 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks for -43 yds, 0 scrambles for 0 yds, 1 pen for 6 yds, -- 10 plays for -27 yds, -2.7 avg, 10.0% (1/10)

Comment: After watching this game, one can appreciate the value of a QB who can roll out of the pocket and throw it away under big pressure. While it may have sank his completion percentage relative to the game's other QBs, at least Cal's QB was still upright and able at the end of the game.

This was by far Boller's worst game of the year. His success% of 14.7% were well off his previous season low of 27.5% against Air Force. UCLA didn't have much drop-off from Paus to Olson, but was extremely ineffective with Sciarra in. Only a dubious pass interference call kept Sciarra from having the QB equvalent of the collar.

Periodicaly some boxing will appear on the cable channels and one of the announcers will talk about how some boxers practice for what happens when they get knocked down. You have to know how long to rest, when to roll over to your front side, when to get to one knee, when to get up, and to keep eye contact with the ref at all times. If you try to get up too fast, like Zab Judah did recently, you look silly and discombobulated, sometimes badly enough for the ref to stop the fight right away. Anyways, it's safe to say to some QBs are taught how to go down when a sack is inevitable -- cover up the ball, minimize exposure to the body, and don't try to do anything too heroic. Now one never anticipates needing their third-string QB getting in the game, much less being put in a situation where he needs to help the team tie/win the game. If he ever got into a game, he probably expected to do little other than hand the ball off. But even being put in an impossible situation, the two sacks plus fumbles that each went for -20 yard losses were (with the exception of having a touchdown scored off a turnover) about the worst thing that a QB could have happen.

Note: Defensive pass interference and holding calls have been added into the total yardage figures for the QB comparison. All penalties here are automatic first downs and are computed into the success rate. 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. 

Which Cal receivers were thrown to most often on Saturday and with what levels of success?

Jonathan Makonnen: 10 att, 4 comp, 42 yds
Tom Swoboda: 6 att, 2 comp, 32 yds
LaShaun Ward: 3 att, 3 comp, 35 yds
Thrown away: 3 att, 3 comp, 0 yds
Joe Igber: 2 att, 2 comp, 6 yds
Geoff McArthur: 2 att, 1 comp, 10 yds
Vincent Strang: 2 att, 0 comp, 0 yds
Terrell Williams: 1 att, 1 comp, 7 yds
Chris Manderino: 1 att, 1 comp, 3 yds
Brandon Hall: 1 att, 1 comp, 0 yds

Comment: After throwing the ball to only five different receivers against USC, Cal threw to nine different people against UCLA. Boller was a lot less locked in to his outside receivers in this game. Although the results don't justify that this was necessarily good, it'll certainly force defenses to be more alert.

Cal -- 17
Overthrow/High - 7
Thrown away - 4
Broken up - 4
Drop - 1
Low - 1

UCLA -- 13
Overthrown/High - 6
HIt while thrown - 2
Low - 2
Drop - 1
Interception - 1
Broken up - 1

Comment: Both teams had one drop -- in each case the ball was a little bit high but the ball went through the wide receiver's hands. Whether you feel Perry's ball squirted through his hands because he was thinking of mug-ging for the camera, or whether Sciarra's ball had too much pepper or punch to it, the effort was certainly worthy of a Diet Coke if not a .....

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 - 57.1% (16/28)
UCLA - 70.8% (10/27)

Comment: UCLA forced Cal in third-down situations in 71% of its first-down situations. This is by far a season high for a Cal opponent.

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 - 58.9% (103/175)
UCLA - 53.4% (124/232)

Comment: For the first time this year, both teams managed more than half of their yards on five plays. All of Cal's five biggest plays took place during their first four possessions, and none occurred in the second half.

The number of plays run on the opponents' territory divided by total plays.
Cal - 34.4% (22/64)
UCLA - 32.3% (22/68)

Defense: 5 (Facemask 2, Personal Foul, Pass Interference, Illegal Block)
Offense: 4 (Personal Foul, Holding, False Start, Delay of game)
Special teams: 1 (Holding)

Special Teams: 3 (Illegal block, Illegal hands, Holding)
Offense: 3 (False Start 2, Holding)
Defense: 1 (Roughing the passer)

Comment: Cal had four penalties of 15 yards. Cal's five defensive penalties ties their season high, previously set against Baylor, WSU, and Washington. However, in each of those games, at least three calls were for pass interference/defensive holding.

I'm not sure if some sort of league directive came down with regards to how pass interference and defensive holding, but in the UCLA game, out of 70 pass plays, only 1 was called -- although cases could have been made for at least five. This is followed by a 0 for 77 in the Cal/USC game. In the two previous conference games, there were six calls and four calls for pass interference/defensive holding.

vs. UCLA: 8
vs. USC: 4
vs. UW: 2
vs. WSU: 2
vs. AFA: 5
vs. MSU: 3
vs. NMSU: 2
vs. BAY: 0

USC: 3
UW: 4
WSU: 3
AFA: 2
MSU: 3
BAY: 8

Definition: Three-and-outs are defined as any offensive possession lasting three plays or less that end in either a punt, turnover, or a field goal attempt. A sequence will be counted as a three-and-out if there are offensive penalties, or defensive penalties that do not result in first downs. Any possession with three plays or less that includes a first down or a touchdown is not included.

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