Oregon State. At home. Flashes of a useless Joe Ayoob and a crying TwistNHook flash through my mind. Whether its 2005 or 2007, the last few occasions in Memorial have been rough. Could things be different this year? This is a really solid OSU team. Fantastic offense, but with a suspect defense. This one could be one of those old fashioned Pac10 shoot outs. 30+ points each? 40+ points each?
After the jump, take a closer look at the OSU Offense and OSU Defense and see where their strengths and weaknesses lie. GO BEARS!
TwistNHook: Let's take a closer look at their passing numbers.
Well, here's something we haven't seen in a while. A good QB. Wait a second. Nearly 70% pass completions? They are averaging, by my pathetic math standards, about 7.6 yards an attempt, so it is not like they are just throwing 3 yards down the field. That is ridiculous.
But, to be fair, we've struggled somewhat mightily against bad QBs. So, I predict that we manage, somehow, to shut Canfield down. Clearly, up is down, left is blue, rain is OJ Simpson. Cal football, where nothing makes sense anymore.
The worst QB rating is in the 4th quarter with 132, which is not half bad. They also have all of their picks in the second half. So, the key here is let's start the game in the second half. Preferably the fourth quarter. It's a can't fail plan!
|3rd Down, 1-3 To Go||7||17||12||70.6||104||0||2||160.80||25||10||3||2|
|3rd Down, 4-6 To Go||8||21||15||71.4||168||0||0||138.63||35||11||2||2|
|3rd Down, 7-9 To Go||8||19||11||57.9||110||0||0||106.53||15||7||2||0|
|3rd Down, 10+ To Go||8||25||14||56.0||154||1||1||112.94||19||6||3||0|
Yeah, not a whole lot to like here. Canfield converts 3rd downs (35 of 82??? That's almost 50 percent). He absolutely kills it on 2nd down. He's deadly on 3rd and short, and pretty good on 3rd and long. Not to mention when he sucked two years ago, when he might've been one of the five worst starting quarterbacks on a big conference team, he threw all over us on 3rd down and led the Beavers on two huge second half scoring drives (although we really lost that Oregon State game because of turnovers).
Cal's pass defense was much improved last week (sans the 80 yard touchdown), and they're going to have to keep progressing upward. Bears have to find a way to neutralize Canfield that doesn't allow him to hit the soft zones or they're going to get lit up.
TwistNHook: Let's take a gander at the rushing stats:
Good. Not great. But good. With the name talent of Quiz out there, you'd expect to see eye-popping numbers. The quarters area ll over the map. 5+ in the 1st and 3rd quarter with 3 or even below in the 2nd and 4th. OSU partisans will say that the 2.2 in the fourth stems from running the ball into the ground at the end of victories. And that the 5s in the 1st and 3rd are more indicative.
To me, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Which is why you see an average of 4 per carry. Again, not amazing. But given that their passing stats are unreal, this is more than enough of a running attack to give me fits. Although, again, to be fair, I'm easily given fits. And am prone to fainting spells over even the most mediocre opponent. Go Bears!
Avinash: Mmm, Quizz is getting his numbers, as is James (5.36 YPC and 6.06 YPC respectively). Those numbers are better than last year. Those stats take a hit because Canfield is getting sacked a lot (23 sacks, 99th in the country in sacks allowed).
Let's isolate Quizz's stats.
Yuck. Average of 12 yards on 1st and 2nd down combined? If Oregon State gets in 2nd and 5 we could be in trouble. At least on 3rd down he looks beatable, although he hasn't rushed a lot to really gleam anything from that.
Great. Just great. Pick your poison with the badass brothers from Corvallis.
TwistNHook: I hate poison. Can I avoid picking it?
Speaking of poison, let's look at their passing D:
Well, this is welcome news. Something bad about OSU. After looking at their offense, I was afraid they were the greatest football team ever. Good to know that they allow nearly 60% pass completions. And that they've given up 15 TDs.
Interesting difference between their 1st half and 2nd half QB ratings. 1st half is 20 points better. 20! That might stem from their 4th quarter 147.52 QB rating against. Which might stem from playing a bunch of soft D while up on teams. But they don't have a ton of blowout victories:
|September 5*||11:30 am||Portland State||#25||Reser Stadium • Corvallis, Oregon||FSN NW||W 34-7||41,679|
|September 12*||8:00 pm||at UNLV||#24||Sam Boyd Stadium • Las Vegas, Nevada||CBS C||W 23-21||25,967|
|September 19*||3:46 pm||#17 Cincinnati||#24||Reser Stadium • Corvallis, OR||FSN||L 18-28||41,909|
|September 26||4:35 pm||Arizona||Reser Stadium • Corvallis, OR||Versus||L 32-37||42,119|
|October 3||4:00 pm||at Arizona State||Sun Devil Stadium • Tempe, AZ||Versus||W 28-17||45,373|
|October 10||4:00 pm||Stanford||Reser Stadium • Corvallis, OR||FSN||W 38-28||41,979|
|October 24||5:00 pm||at USC||Los Angeles Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA||ABC||L 36-42||89,718|
|October 31†||1:00 pm||UCLA||Reser Stadium • Corvallis, OR||FSN (delay)||W 26-19||41,009|
They have blown out Portland State and, unless ASU scored a late, late TD in garbage time, ASU. So, essentially, their 4th Quarter Passing D's deficiencies is not excusable under that rubric.
Unfortunately, their best stats come from the first quarter. We need Riley to get out to a good start and gain confidence in that first quarter. So, those numbers are not encouraging. This game looks to be like an old fashioned shoot out, so hopefully Cal's passing O can really wake up against these guys. Hopefully, Riley can carry over the heat for the 4th quarter of ASU into this one. If so, we might see fireworks!
Avinash: Cal is 115th in passing D yardage. Oregon State is 116th. We're like mirrors!
|3rd Down, 1-3 To Go||8||23||15||65.2||124||0||0||110.50||16||11||2||0|
|3rd Down, 4-6 To Go||7||15||8||53.3||87||0||1||124.05||19||7||2||0|
|3rd Down, 7-9 To Go||7||11||7||63.6||53||0||0||104.11||18||4||1||0|
|3rd Down, 10+ To Go||7||30||15||50.0||199||1||0||99.05||40||9||4||1|
These are particularly promising, especially the insane 4th down stats (7 for 11 on 4th down???). However, what's promising for the Beavers is that while they give up their fair share of third down conversions, it's far less than the yardage they're giving up (they're somewhere in the middle of the pack in 3rd down defense). So it might be crucial for Cal to pick up big yards on 1st down to set up 2nd and short situations. Getting things going on the ground will be critical to unleashing Riley.
TwistNHook: Well, we've seen how the OSU offense is pretty sick and the passing D ain't where they want it. Howzabout that rushing D?
What is interesting to me is the situations where the first quarter numbers are much, much better than others. That signifies to me that there might be depth problems. Here, the first quarter numbers are 3.33 yards per carry, while the next best is 3.56 yards per carry (in the 4th quarter when teams might just be running out the clock against them). The overall numbers here are not great, but not passing D bad, either. What we're looking at is a pretty good run D.
Hopefully, however, Riley can take advantage of the OSU Pass D to open up running lanes for Jahvy Jahv. Their rushing D stats seem to get worse over time, so hopefully Cal can wear down the OSU front 7. Now, the OSU front 7 has been really good in the past few years, so I'm not incredibly hopeful. But I do see a blueprint for success here. Pound the ball and throw deep. Get Best/Vereen into open space.
This has shootout written all over it. Hopefully, it won't have OSU victory (i.e. return to sender) also written all over it.
Avinash: We're pretty much mirror images. The Beavers are tied for the 27th best run defense; Cal has the 30th. And both our passing defenses stink. Unless something drastic happens, we're probably going to see the same thing we've seen every Pac-10 game--teams loading the box to stop Best, and we'll have to probably rely on his receiving abilities more. Likewise, we'll probably get Jacquizz, a great receiving running back, coming out of the backfield and try run roughshod over our linebacking corps. Interesting how a duel of two of the best running backs in the country won't come down to their rushing abilities but their receiving abilities.