FUN WITH NUMBERS: Cal vs. OSU

<p class=txt>While by several measures this was Cal's worst game of the year, upon closer look, the Bears were a lot closer to winning this game than the final score would indicate.<br>

Although neither the running nor passing games was terribly effective, Cal was able to use turnovers plus good field position -- two keys to their early season success -- and managed five possessions inside OSU's 30-yard line. Of those five possessions, Cal managed only 13 points -- if their proficiency matched their previous season average, they would have ended up right around 24 points. 

For the second consecutive game, the Bears averaged just around 2 yards a play on 33 first down plays which put the offense in several 2nd-and-long and 3rd-and-long situations. By comparison, OSU averaged 8.0 yards on 30 first down plays -- bolstered by two long running running plays.

The Bears played their best second half defense in a long time, limiting the Beavers to 29 yards in the 3rd quarter and 83 yards in the second half -- this coming off the heels of a frightening 289-yard first half.

I spent last Saturday afternoon watching La Boheme at the Curran. I had on a Cal article of clothing and during the break a lot of people asked me if I wondered what the score was. I told one woman that it felt strange being at the theater because I hadn't missed attending or listening to a game all year. She replied she hadn't either. While I rarely attend opera, La Boheme is an outstanding show. The quick and dirty is that it involves two couples who have trouble communicating with each other. Now who can't relate to that?

Note: These numbers were compiled with the help of the GameTracker that can be linked from the Cyberbears and calbears.com site. For those of you that like looking at play-by-play summaries, it's definitely worth checking out. In the olden days, these weren't widely accessible unless you were a member of the media. When I was working on a college football stat project in the late 80s, I wrote a whole bunch of SIDs, trying to get play-by-plays. The only schools that would mail them regularly were Notre Dame and Penn State. Anyways, nowadays, this information is available to all. The Internet, indeed, is a wonderful thing.


DOWNS
Cal 1st Down: 33-69, 2.1 (Run: 14/32, 2.3; Pass: 19/37, 2.0)
Cal 2nd Down: 26-136, 5.2 (Run: 5/18, 3.6; Pass: 21/118, 5.6)
Cal 3rd Down: 19-58, 3.0 (Run: 3/15, 5.0; Pass: 16/43, 2.7)
Cal 4th Down: 1-36, 36.0 (Run: 0/0, 0.0; Pass: 1/36, 36.0)
Cal 2pt Conv: 0-0, 0.0 (Run: 0/0, 0.0; Pass: 0/0, 0.0)
Cal Total: 79-299 3.8 (Run: 22/65, 2.9; Pass: 57/234, 4.1)

OSU 1st Down: 30-241, 8.0 (Run: 22/212, 9.7; Pass: 8/29, 3.6)
OSU 2nd Down: 20-70, 3.5 (Run: 15/61, 4.1; Pass: 5/9, 1.8)
OSU 3rd Down: 13-61, 4.7 (Run: 4/37, 9.2; Pass: 9/24, 2.7) 
OSU 4th Down: 0-0, 0.0 (Run: 0/0, 0.0; Pass: 0/0, 0.0) 
OSU 2pt conv: 0-0, 0.0 (Run: 0/0, 0.0; Pass: 0/0, 0.0)
OSU Total: 63-372, 5.9 (Run: 41/310, 7.6; Pass 22/62, 2.8)

Comment: OSU's first down average was bolstered by plays of 47 and 42 yards. Even without those two plays, the Beavers still averaged more than 5 yards on first down. 

For the second consecutive game, Cal struggled on first down. Against UCLA, Cal averaged 2.0 yards on 24 first down plays. As much trouble as Cal has had running the ball lately, they averaged more running (2.3) than they did passing (2.0). Of the 19 pass plays, Cal was 8-of-15 for 77 yards, with 3 sacks for -30 yards and 1 scramble for 0 yards.


QUARTERS
Cal 1st quarter: 17-87, 5.1 (Run: 5/17, 3.4; Pass: 12/70, 5.8)
Cal 2nd quarter: 22-119, 5.4 (Run: 11/32, 2.9; Pass: 11/87, 7.9)
Cal 3rd quarter: 24-56, 2.3 (Run: 4/15, 3.8; Pass: 20/41, 2.0)
Cal 4th quarter: 16-37, 2.3 (Run: 2/1, 0.5; Pass: 14/36, 2.6)
Cal Total: 79-299 3.8 (Run: 22/65, 2.9; Pass: 57/234, 4.1)

OSU 1st quarter: 13-107, 8.2 (Run: 7/83, 11.9; Pass: 6/24, 4.0)
OSU 2nd quarter: 17-182, 10.7 (Run: 12/153, 12.7; Pass: 5/29, 5.8)
OSU 3rd quarter: 14-29, 2.1 (Run: 7/23, 3.3; Pass: 7/6, 0.9)
OSU 4th quarter: 19-54, 2.8 (Run: 15/51, 3.4; Pass: 4/3, 0.8)
OSU Total: 63-372, 5.9 (Run: 41/310, 7.6; Pass 22/62, 2.8)

Comment: Cal's defense really played well in the second half. Out of 9 OSU possessions, 5 were 3-and-outs, 1 resulted in a fumble, 2 went for 1 first down and a punt, and one went for 1 first down and resulted in a field goal. It's possible that OSU toned down their offense, but their run/pass mix was 50/50 in the 3rd quarter and I don't think any offense worth its salt wants to reign things in to the point where it can't make first downs.


STARTING FIELD POSITION
Cal: 16 poss., avg. starting field position: 36.2 
OSU: 15 poss., avg. starting field position: 26.2

Note: For the game, Cal had a +186 yard advantage in field position. 

INSIDE OPPONENT'S 30
California: 5 poss: 1 TD, 2 FG, 1 FGNG, 1 TO
Cal scoring %: 3/5 -- 60.0%
Cal max points possible: 35
Cal max points % -- 37%

OSU: 4 poss: 3 TD, 1 FG
OSU scoring %: 3/4 -- 75%
OSU max points possible: 28
OSU max points % -- 86%

Comment: This was Cal's worst game this year in terms of maximizing opportunities inside the opponent's 30. The 37% against OSU is slightly below the 45% against Air Force. In every other game this year, Cal's max points % has been over 60%. OSU's 86% was a season-high by a Cal opponent, previously only Washington had managed a max points% over 70 versus Cal.


QB COMPARISON
CAL-Kyle Boller, 51 att, 27 comp, 283 yds, 11 first downs, 0 TD, 1 INT, 5 sacks for -49 yds, 1 scrambles for 0 yds, 0 pen. for 0 yds -- 57 plays for 234 yds, 4.1 avg, 19.2% success (11/57)
OSU-Anderson, 20 att, 7 comp, 69 yds, 3 first downs, 0 TD, 0 INT, 1 sacks for -7 yds, 0 scrambles for 0 yds, 1 pen. for 9 yds -- 22 plays for 71 yds, 3.2 avg, 18.1% success (4/22)

Comment: After a string of games with a success percentage over 30%, Kyle Boller's now had two games with a success% less than 20. Last week, UCLA did a good job of defending Cal's short pass plays. It looks like the Bears tried to counter that by throwing more to backs and tight ends this week, but that didn't seem to help too much either. 

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. 


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

Jonathan Makonnen: 14 att, 8 comp, 55 yds
LaShaun Ward: 10 att, 4 comp, 81 yds
Tom Swoboda: 10 att, 7 comp, 77 yds
Joe Igber: 5 att, 3 comp, 26 yds
Geoff Macarthur: 4 att, 2 comp, 20 yds
Terrell Williams: 4 att, 2 comp, 15 yds
Brandon Hall: 1 att, 1 comp, 10 yds
Thrown away: 3 att, 0 comp, 0 yds

Comment: In the past four weeks, Tom Swoboda has been thrown to 1, 5, 6, and now 10 times. Curiously, Cal was 7-of-7 for 77 yards throwing to Swoboda in the first half, but only 0-for-3 in the 2nd half. Similarly, Boller was 5-of-5 for 27 yards throwing to Jonathan Makonnen in the first half, but just 3-of-9 throwing to him in the 2nd half.



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 - 43.3% (13/30)
OSU - 59.4% (19/32)

Comment: Cal went 3-and-out 4 times during the game, but three of those were in the 4th quarter.


DEFENSIVE WHOPPER%
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 - 47.1% (141/299)
OSU - 42.0% (157/374)

Comment: Cal had only one play longer than 15 yards in the second half, OSU had none.


ON THE OTHER SIDE
The number of plays run on the opponents' territory divided by total plays.
Cal - 43.0% (34/79)
OSU - 33.3% (21/63)

Comment: One of the reasons OSU ran a low number of plays on the Cal side of the field was that they had a series of long gains in the first half that put them deep into Cal territory. As a result, there wasn't much of a chance for them to chew up much possession.


PENALTIES
CAL PENALTIES: 10
Offense: 5 (False start 3, Holding, Delay of Game)
Defense: 3 (Facemask, Personal Foul, Pass Interference)
Special teams: 2 (Illegal block 2)

OSU PENALTIES: 8
Offense: 6 (Personal Foul 2, Holding 2, False Start, Delay)
Special Teams: 2 (Illegal block, Holding)

Comment: Seventy eight pass plays, and only one pass interference call. Must've been some kind of, uh, defense out there. In reviewing the play-by-play, I was looking for the one time when they clobber the punt returner while the ball's still in the air. I guess they're mellowing out a little bit in Corvallis.


THREE AND OUTS
Cal
vs. OSU: 4
vs. UCLA: 8
vs. USC: 4
vs. UW: 2
vs. WSU: 2
vs. AFA: 5
vs. MSU: 3
vs. NMSU: 2
vs. BAY: 0

Opponent:
OSU: 7
UCLA: 4
USC: 3
UW: 4
WSU: 3
AFA: 2
MSU: 3
NMSU: 2
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.


QB SUCCESS % SUMMARY
Each game, one number that gets compiled in the QB comparison is the Success Percentage. There isn't an easy way to apply this percentage across a wide number of quarterbacks without going through lines and lines of play-by-play. I don't have the inclination to do this sort of thing unless the NEA decides to start awarding grants for football statistics. Anyways, this is what's showed up so far this year:

Kyle Boller
vs. OSU - 19.2%
vs. UCLA -- 14.7%
vs USC -- 32.5%
vs. UW -- 41.7%
vs. WSU -- 31.3%
vs. AFA -- 27.5%
vs. MSU -- 30.3%
vs. NMS -- 29.4%
vs. BAY -- 37.0%

Opposing starting QBs
OSU -- 18.1%
UCLA (Paus) -- 31.6% 
USC -- 41.8%
UW -- 23.8%
WSU -- 39.1%
AFA -- 12.5%
MSU -- 34.4%
NMS -- 23.1%
BAY -- 36.4%

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