Well, here it goes again. The nervous feelings. The pit of the stomach. A Cal fan never feels confident against Stanford. Especially not one who came of age during the Holmoecaust. And ESPECIALLY not one who just watched the last two Cal games. This has been an up and down season for Cal. Rough losses. Big victories. It's almost over and we (hopefully) have a soft landing at the end. Although Stanford has clearly shown some vivacity this season. They managed to do two things we couldn't, beat OSU and Arizona.
And score more than 3 points against USC. Let's take a look at the nuts and bolts of this Stanford team to see who we will be facing off against tomorrow.
Here it goes again......
Finally, we've been posting a lot recently. Check it: YouTube Thurday, Roundtable, B-Ball Recap; Arizona analysis; Marshawn v. Browns; Top25; Bowl Scenarios; OSU Thoughts; Pete Newell Memories; Big Game Memories
All numbers are from here.
|Points Per Game||27.2||26.5|
|Yards gained rushing||2577||1920|
|Yards lost rushing||305||372|
|Average Per Rush||5.0||4.0|
|Average Per Game||206.5||140.7|
|Average Per Pass||6.1||7.0|
|Average Per Catch||10.9||11.1|
|Average Per Game||137.6||238.1|
|Average Per Play||5.4||5.5|
|Average Per Game||344.2||378.8|
|KICK RETURNS: #-Yards||52-1172||57-1198|
|PUNT RETURNS: #-Yards||21-222||13-71|
|INT RETURNS: #-Yards||6-102||12-119|
|KICK RETURN AVERAGE||22.5||21.0|
|PUNT RETURN AVERAGE||10.6||5.5|
|INT RETURN AVERAGE||17.0||9.9|
|Average Per Game||62.6||62.2|
|Average Per Punt||40.4||38.1|
|Net punt average||38.1||31.6|
|TIME OF POSSESSION/Game||29:35||30:25|
|RED-ZONE SCORES||37-39 95%||40-50 80%|
|RED-ZONE TOUCHDOWNS||30-39 77%||25-50 50%|
|PAT-ATTEMPTS||34-35 97%||33-33 100%|
|Games/Avg Per Game||5/34258||6/58438|
|Neutral Site Games||0/0|
Ok, let's look at some general stats first. We saw teams like OSU and USC just racking up the points and yards and first downs against their opponents. Stanford has barely outscored their opponents. They have fewer first downs. Fewer yards. The breakdown of offense is indicative of their style of offense. Tons more rushing yards than passing yards. 700 more. Clearly a run first team, the very kind of team that Cal plays well. They've actually even run fewer plays than their opponents.
Their 3rd down % is worse than their opponents. I feel that, looking at these numbers, we can handle this team if we play to our ability.
Well, here it is. The crux of Stanford. The key to Stanford. Toby Gerhart. The Quizz of Stanford. The Jeremiah Johnson of Stanford. The every USC RB on that fucking team of Stanford. He has almost 200 attempts on the year. He's averaging 5.4 a carry, which I believe is more than Quizz. Almost 100 yards a game. He's the biggest part of their offense. If we can shut him down, we will be able to control this game, I believe. Said the same thing about Quizz, though, and we saw what happened there.
He's backed up by Anthony Kimble, who I know little about to be honest. His numbers look better than Gerhart, but in a more limited role. More yards per carry but about a hundred fewer carries. The main focus is Gerhart. If Kimble and Gerhart are both destroying us, then it could be a LOOONG day.
Toby Gerhart via grfx.cstv.com
Tavita Pritchard. Wasn't he the shmuckzoid that beat us last year? The name angers me to this day! Luckily, it appears he isn't very good. 120 yards a game. 57% completion rate. 113 QB efficiency. The passing game clearly not the strength of the team. That's why stopping Gerhart is so important. It's like the Oregon game. We were able to contain their run game and force them to pass. They couldn't. Masoli got 44 yards. If we can do the same here, we can control the game.
If we can force Pritchard to beat us, this game will most likely be ours. Similar to Masoli, also, he can scramble. He rushed for almost 50 yards against USC. But passingwise, he was 9-21 for about 100 yards.
Tavita Pritchard vtai grfx.cstv.com
As to be expected with the QB situation at Stanford, there are not great WR numbers. The leader, Whalen, averages less than 40 yards a game. Whalen leads the team with 36 receptions. I think there are like 4 WRs on Arizona with more than that. If these guys are beating us on Saturday, it means things have broken down. And bad.
Ryan Whalen via grfx.cstv.com
Ok, like GoDucks.com the Stanford website is freaking out. I've written the bottom portion out two times and it deletes it twice. Damn you, Stanford! You've rejected me yet again. So, I'll try to summarize my thoughts:
1. Arizona ran all over us, because we had to respect the pass so much. We were able to control Oregon, because we didn't need to respect their pass. On that spectrum, Stanford is far closer to Oregon. So, I think that this is the type of offense we can control. Gerhart will probably get his yards, similar to how JJ got his in Oregon. But hopefully, they will be empty yards. If Pritchard and Co. are passing all over us, it will be a LONG day. But I feel that given our defensive prowess, that will not happen. Hopefully!
2. On offense, I predict we see a LOT of running. Stanford just gave 300 yards each to USC and Oregon in their last 2 games. Now, of course, USC and Oregon are great running teams, no doubt about that. But we aren't exactly slouches. Apparently, Best is as healthy now as he has been in weeks. Plus, if our offensive line can play more like they did against Oregon than OSU and USC, I think we can give Riley the time he needs to make throws. On the road, they were abysmal. Hopefully, at home, it will be different.
Look, I get it. It's been a long season. An up and down season. Big wins. Crushing losses. And with our 2 crushing losses in a row there, you feel uncomfortable about the game. We all do. Plus, its Big Game. I was there in 2000 and 2001 when Stanford should have smacked us. But we held strong, losing at the way end (in OT in 2000). Throw the record books out in this one. But looking at the stats, looking at all the games, I feel reasonably confident that Cal can take this one. Our D is set up to stop a run-heavy offense as we face here. Our O is set up to run the ball a lot against weak run Ds as we face here. Let's get that axe back. Let's do this thing. Go Bears!