<p class=txt> As badly as Cal's defense has been maligned for its work in last Saturday's 55-38 win against Arizona State, consider this: the defense forced ELEVEN three-and-outs, including four during ASU's last five possessions.

There's an abundance of extremely strange numbers to come out of this game:

*Of the 38 points scored in the third quarter, Cal's offense accounted for only 3 of them.
*In the 2nd and 3rd quarters, ASU's Andrew Walter was 24-of-36 for 426 yards; but in the 1st and 4th, he was 6-of-14 for 54 yards, but was also sacked 5 times for -36 yards.
*Cal's offense had more than 100 yards running and 100 yards passing on 1st down plays for the first time this year
*Out of 155 offensive plays, only once was offensive holding called.
*ASU averaged 51.2 yards on their five biggest offensive plays. On the other 72 they averaged 3.0.

Since this is a couple of days late, I won't add too many comments about the game, but I did have to chance to go out to Tempe this past weekend:

I highly recommend that sometime in your lives that each of you goes to Cal road game (of a non-Stanford variety) and sit in the Cal section and yell your lungs out. At Tempe, the spirit in the Cal section was terrific; and it was great to see to see that band and the yell leaders just one section over. Heck, it was great to see several families of the players with the player's names on their back. Matt Nixon, who went to high school nearby, had a particularly large group of supporters with lots of signs.

Off the top of my head, I can't recall any other school where the dominant color of school attire is sort of an off-yellow. But after looking at an unusual condiment-serving device at the stadium, ASU's colors are probably best characterized as mustard and barbecue-sauce.

I walked around a busy stretch Tempe for a little while after the game, and this is one town that's perennially on the verge of spring break. 

As odd as Memorial Stadium's bag policy might be, they have nothing on ASU's drink policy. I bought a large cup of a non-alcoholic carbonated beverage outside the stadium, and was halfway through it when I was about to enter the stadium. As I did, three yellow-coats converged upon me telling me that I had to throw it out. I asked if I could stand outside and finish it. They thought about it for awhile and thought it was OK. In the meantime, people are allowed carrying in all kinds of unopened bottled drinks.

Arizona State's stadium is terrific and it was a little astounding that the stadium was barely half-full on Saturday. Numerous upper level seats on the 50-yard line were empty. Because there's very little area between the playing surface and the stands, all of the seats are very close to the field.

I take back everything I said about Phoenix International Raceway's park-and-ride system a few weeks ago. This past Sunday's post-race situation was a nightmare. If you're ever in a position where you have to coordinate buses for anything, make sure that the drivers know how to reach their destination.

Next year, Cal plays at ASU during the same weekend that NASCAR's in town. (Ladies and) Gentlemen...start your planning...

Cal 1st Down: 34-208, 6.1 (Run: 22/105, 4.8; Pass: 12/103, 8.6)
Cal 2nd Down: 24-101, 4.2 (Run: 11/49, 4.5; Pass: 13/52, 4.0)
Cal 3rd Down: 18-64, 3.5 (Run: 4/7, 1.8; Pass: 14/57, 4.1)
Cal 4th Down: 2-4, 2.0 (Run: 1/4, 4.0; Pass: 1/0, 0.0)
Cal 2pt Conv: 0-0, 0.0 (Run: 0/0, 0.0; Pass: 0/0, 0.0)
Cal Total: 78-377, 4.6 (Run: 38/165, 4.4; Pass: 40/212, 5.3)

ASU 1st Down: 34-180, 5.3 (Run: 9/17, 1.9; Pass: 25/163, 6.5)
ASU 2nd Down: 27-266, 9.9 (Run: 7/28, 4.0; Pass: 20/238, 11.9)
ASU 3rd Down: 15-32, 2.1 (Run: 3/-5, -1.7; Pass: 12/37, 3.1) 
ASU 4th Down: 0-0, 0.0 (Run: 0/0, 0.0; Pass: 0/0, 0.0) 
ASU 2pt conv: 1-2, 2.0 (Run: 0/0, 0.0; Pass: 1/2, 2.0)
ASU Total: 77-480, 6.2 (Run: 19/40, 2.1; Pass 58/440, 7.6)

Comment: This was the first time in conference play that Cal averaged more than 4 yards on first down running plays.

Although ASU's passing totals passed the quarter-mile mark, they weren't very effective on third down. ASU averaged 2.7 yards per pass on third down, going 6-of-9 for 54 yards with 3 sacks for -22 yards.

Cal 1st quarter: 21-92, 4.4 (Run: 9/28, 3.1; Pass: 15/64, 4.3)
Cal 2nd quarter: 14-85, 6.1 (Run: 5/11, 2.2; Pass: 9/74, 8.2)
Cal 3rd quarter: 20-78, 3.9 (Run: 9/74, 8.2; Pass: 11/4, 0.3)
Cal 4th quarter: 20-122, 6.1 (Run: 15/52, 3.5; Pass: 5/70, 14.0)
Cal Total: 78-377, 4.6 (Run: 38/165, 4.4; Pass: 40/212, 5.3)

ASU 1st quarter: 13-(-10), -0.8 (Run: 4/0, 0.0; Pass: 9/(-10), -1.1)
ASU 2nd quarter: 24-194, 8.1 (Run: 10/14, 1.4; Pass: 14/180, 13.6)
ASU 3rd quarter: 28-262, 2.1 (Run: 4/20, 5.0; Pass: 24/242, 10.1)
ASU 4th quarter: 12-34, 2.8 (Run: 1/6, 6.0; Pass: 11/28, 2.6)
ASU Total: 77-480, 6.2 (Run: 19/40, 2.1; Pass 58/440, 7.6)

Comment: In the 2nd and 3rd quarters, ASU gained 456 yards, but in the 1st and 4th quarters, they gained 24 yards.

Cal: 21 poss., avg. starting field position: 45.9 
ASU: 21 poss., avg. starting field position: 31.2

Comment: Cal had a +308 yard advantage in field position. This time, I counted the blocked punt and Nnamdi Asomugha's TD as +100s. If either play had resulted in ending up with ball going out at the opponents 1, they would have each been listed as a +99. Since both went for touchdowns, I decided to give them each the extra yard even though both plays didn't directly result in offensive possessions. In the third quarter, the two big plays ended up turning what was a -59 difference in starting field position to a +141.

California: 6 poss: 4 TD, 1 FG, 1 FGNG
Cal scoring %: 5/6 -- 83.3%
Cal max points possible: 42
Cal max points % -- 74%

ASU: 4 poss: 2 TD, 1 FG, 1 turnover
ASU scoring %: 3/4 -- 75%
ASU max points possible: 28
ASU max points % -- 61%

CAL-Kyle Boller, 36 att, 16 comp, 213 yds, 5 first downs, 5 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks for -15 yds, 2 scrambles for 14 yds, 0 pen. for 0 yds -- 40 plays for 212 yds, 5.3 avg, 25.2% success (10/40)
ASU-Walter, 50 att, 30 comp, 480 yds, 14 first downs, 4 TD, 1 INT, 6 sacks for -44 yds, 1 scrambles for 4 yds, 3 pen. for 32 yds -- 60 plays for 472 yds, 7.9 avg, 33.3% success (20/60)

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: 9 att, 5 comp, 70 yds
Tom Swoboda: 7 att, 4 comp, 45 yds
Joe Igber: 7 att, 4 comp, 31 yds
Brandon Hall: 5 att, 2 comp, 19 yds
LaShaun Ward: 4 att, 1 comp, 47 yds
Geoff Macarthur: 1 att, 0 comp, 0 yds
Thrown away: 3 att, 0 comp, 0 yds

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 - 44.1% (15/34)
ASU - 52.9% (18/34)

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 - 38.7% (146/377)
ASU - 53.3% (256/480)

Comment: If you take away ASU's five biggest plays, Cal's defense held the Sun Devils to 224 yards on 74 plays for a 3.0 avg.

Offense: 0 
Defense: 4 (Pass Interference 3, Offsides 1)

Defense: 6 (False Start 3, Holding, Illegal Formation, Ineligible Receiver)
Offense: 3 (Facemask 2, Personal Foul)

Comment: Wow! 155 offensive plays and there was only one holding call! What excellent execution by the offensive lines! Some of the more cynical of us would be willing to say that ASU's offensive linemen tackle better than their defensive linemen.

vs. ASU: 5
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

ASU: 11
OSU: 7
USC: 3
UW: 4
WSU: 3
AFA: 2
MSU: 3
BAY: 8

Comment: Even if you take into consideration that ASU had 21 possessions (the average is usually around 15) -- it's still astonishing that Cal forced them into 11 three-and-outs. The previous high was 8 against Baylor. In the past two games, Cal's defense has had nearly as many three-and-outs 18) as they did in the previous six games (19). 

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. Top Stories