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So Close! Big Game 2011 Report Card

STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Zach Maynard #15 of the California Golden Bears throws the ball during their game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Stanford, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Zach Maynard #15 of the California Golden Bears throws the ball during their game against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Stanford, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Tough game on Saturday. Fun, but tough game. We got a lot of great responses. I wasn't to focus on 2 things that I saw in the Report Card:

1. Reader hardtobecalfan wrote:

hardtobecalfan (not hardtobeacalfan!)

Sorry! There is a reader under the name hardtobeacalfan, so you can understand the confusion. Thanks for your comments!

2. Reader Scuttleduck wrote:

Scuttleduck - I'm a freshman at Cal, and this was my first big game. WOW.

That's a heartwarming comment to me. I remember my first Big Game (back in the latter part of the 1900s). We didn't play anywhere as good as Cal did on Saturday. Hopefully, even in loss, Cal's valiant effort can help build that great relationship with a new generation of Cal students and fans.

After the jump, we have your comments and your grades. You have all been really doing great this season with the report card. Thanks! GO BEARS!

Average Score
Standard Deviation

Pass Offense

Rush Offense
Pass Defense
Rush Defense
Special Teams
Win likelihood vs ASU
.683 (+15.3%)

Berkelium97: Those are some pretty good grades!

Maynard earns his highest score of the year. The low standard deviation for pass offense indicates these high scores were pretty much unanimous.

Elsewhere, every unit scored well and none were below .60.

We're obviously feeling quite a bit better about the ASU game than we did during the summer. ASU's annual faceplant will lift the opponents' spirits, I suppose. Of course, last time we experienced a big boost of confidence prior heading into a game, we got thoroughly embarrassed by UCLA...

Editor's Choice Award:

Wheeler Hall Award for Excellence in Reading Comprehension:

This award goes to everyone! For the first time this season (and for the first time ever, I think) everyone followed directions and gave scores between 0.00 and 1.00!

Next up we have the usual set of awards, the Old Blues and Tedford's Sunshine Pumpers.

I am shocked: SoCal Oski is nowhere to be found among the Old Blues! Meanwhile, I managed to be the second-largest curmudgeon of the week. My scores might have been higher had I filled out the report card immediately following the game. Instead, a couple days' worth of thoughts about FBs and TEs breaking free soured my opinions on the game (I'm still bitter that Trollioliolololiolol waltzed right past Cattouse and a CB when they both bit on a playaction).

On the other side of the spectrum, oskiwow leads the Sunshine Pumpers followed by Hydro. You know it was a good performance if Hydro is pumping the sunshine! (and you know it was a really good performance when SoCal Oski isn't among the Old Blues).

Tedford's Sunshine Pumpers
Net Score, Percentage
1. oskiwow
6.50, 92.9%
2. HydroTech
6.10, 87.1%
3. cjwethers
5.83, 83.3%
4. texashaterforlife
5.70, 81.4%
5. bigdruid
5.54, 79.1%
Old Blues Net Score, Percentage
1. npyoung35
3.70, 52.9%
2. Berkelium97 3.75, 53.6%
3. fuzzywuzzy
3.84, 54.9%
4. Willis Chong
3.90, 55.7%

5. sacman701

4.10, 58.6%

The Voice of Reason Total Deviation
1. mathghamhain
2. 1988goldenbear
3. hardtobecalfan (not hardtobeacalfan!)
4. puresilence .078
5. Koalaballa


Next up we have The Voice of Reason for those whose scores most accurately reflect the group scores.

mathghamhain (any relation to the 11th century Irishman?) continues to place consistently among the most rational scores. hardtobeacalfan tends to appear in the Voice of Reason category, but hardtobecalfan (not hardtobeacalfan!) is there instead. You're not actually hardtobeacalfan, are you? I thought my job here only involved crunching numbers and handing out awards. I never knew reading comprehension would be involved. I need a raise...

Now let's hear your thoughts on what could have been! Did anyone spell Toilolo's named correctly?

Gameday Experience

mathghamhain - "Terrific! On the way to the Big Splash, I bumped into Cal Water Polo's All Time Single Season Goal Scorer. Although an alum, he scored me a beer before game time. Cal destroyed 'furd, at the Big Splash, which was like playing with house money. Couple notes:
-'furd's goalie looked like a rented mule;
-Cal did everything and anything, on one break away I believe the Cal player intentionally tried ""a goalie-head-goal"" but only got the top of the goalie's head;
-the Cal band made two passes outside the pool area, pretty cool to see them marching, only wished they stopped and played a song.

For the Big Game, the weather was fine until Stanford took the lead, then I noticed it was cold and rainy.

Oski4Heisman - "I was wet. I was cold. There were furd fans everywhere. And we don't have the Axe.

And yet, as I exited the stadium, I heard the cheerful Bear fans chanting GO! BEARS! I had visions in my head of Zach Maynard pumping his fists and jumping in the air. And I realized that we had just taken away any hope of caveman luck from getting his hands on the heisman. It was a good night for the Golden Bears."

fuzzywuzzy - "That stadium has no drink holders for my Sailor Jerry's like our wonderful AT&T park does. And I pretty much deserved to be knocked out of the way of their parading band and flippy tree by the uni-bomber looking dude with the riot shield. I just didn't feel like moving off the pathway. Now, if I was a USC fan...

WE BEAT THE SPREAD and almost beat a ranked team on the road...for the first time in 42 years....


crystallogobear - Staying up until 2 am is not my favorite thing in the world...especially when I have to be up before 7 the next day. Is it necessary to play games so late that it makes it extremely inconvenient for people on the East Coast to watch?

texashaterforlife - A good game even for a loss. I was happy Cal did not do any pre-game hooligan chant like last year, hopefully Tedford learned his lesson as well as all the players. Mistakes by Cal kept them from winning but the Furd also had some bad throws and mistakes that kept them from blowing it open. Considering the game conditions and opposing talent, this might be a good loss if I believed in such a thing. More importantly it gives me hope for next year's season and retaking the axe at renovated Memorial Stadium.

Willis Chong - The rain made everything kind of miserable. Of course, it allowed my friends and I to grab good seats one quarter in. Cal section was loud, and it felt like the fans never thought we would be out of it. Certainly, after last year, anything less than a 30 point deficit makes you think we can come back.

1988goldenbear - Was in the Bay Area but at a wedding reception. Would have been at the game otherwise, cold and wet and bummed, but I'm proud of the effort.

RedBear - "For the first few possessions the rain was on and off - every time Stanfurd got the ball it'd start up again. I thought clearly Juju was on our side...what a horrible way to tempt juju.

Glad to see the Cal turnout, and how many of us stayed through the rain and momentum swings. Was surprised LSJUMB wasn't struck down by lightning. Oh, and the parachute ball delivery was awesome."

bigdruid - That field is an embarrassment to the league. They should be ashamed to show it on national TV.

sacman701 - The announcer kept saying the Stanford Axe. It's the Axe. No one calls it the Stanford Axe.

prd74 - "I had to run an errand during the game and watched my stream on my iPhone using 3G. Not bad and definitely better than Gametracker. Thank you PRD!
Wet night games suck. So do errands during the Big Game. "

Pass Offense

MaximillianT - Maynards growing up!

yg - Heroic effort. Can't remember a single dropped pass. Keenan's touchdown catch, Marvin's 2pt conversion, even a Bouza appearance are all memorable.

Ursus Aureus - "Zack Maynard 20/29 279 yards 2 TD
Andrew Luck 20/30 257 yards 2 TD 1 INT (should have been a TAINT!!)
Just sayin....

They dared us to pass and we did... WELL!. Was a little disappointing for a stretch in the 3rd quarter and that cost us the game. Nice to see 'good' Maynard but frankly the Stanford secondary wasn't the greatest unit in the world. Also... YAAY Jackson Bouza!

ResBear - #MaynardForHeisman. Aside from that handoff-pitch fumble on the opening drive, this guy played his heart out...I feel like today was the first time we saw what he was really capable of, even against a good team.

CalFan - EXCELLENT. Wish we didn't abandon it when it was working. People think rain hurts passing games and makes running more important. It doesn't. It makes *changing direction* difficult. So Isi couldn't make his cuts and jukes, but Zachary could go vertical. But in the 2nd Q we tried to pound the ball against a stacked box. Sigh.

texashaterforlife - Never really thought Maynard would have a better passing game than holier than thou Luck, but that is what happened. Good job all around. O-line gave him good protection at least enough for Maynard to scramble. Receivers did a good job too. Did not see any dropped balls that should have been caught. I hope M.Calvin has a successful recovery, At least he got a touchdown this season after fighting all those injuries.

oskiwow - Maynard had his best game as a Golden Bear thus far. No interceptions, made some tough throws, and generally managed the game well. There were some mis-communication problems (e.g., our second offensive play of the game, which resulted in a fumble), but Maynard definitely took a step forward with this game. He outplayed a Heisman Trophy Candidate. 'nuff said.

Rush Offense

Ursus Aureus - Make no mistake about it. Stanford sold out to stop the run and given that they did, it was an ok effort. HOWEVER, leading 10-7, if our offense could have punched a TD in, it would have been a very different game. Horrendous playing conditions though.

bigdruid - "First off, that opening-drive ""pitch to nowhere"" really came back to haunt us. Looks like that was 100% on Maynard, too. Glad he was able to shake it off and play mistake-free ball after that.

Again, their field was terrible and that really seemed to cause problems for Sofele. Also, on his second-half ""fumble"", it looked like a helmet-to-helmet hit - I hope he's OK.

Good job by the OL keeping the penalties to a minimum (it was sweet to see *Stanford* go offsides twice on that last drive). CJ Anderson was a Beast. He really stepped up."

puresilence - Besides that initial bad pitch (and that terrible fumble call) it was decent. Could have been better if the furd actually had a decent field to play on. Good god, you think they could have put some money into a half-decent field.

Willis Chong - "We weren't getting as big as holes as WSU and OSU, but we did get some of it going. Lack of a real bruiser really cost us as if we could have run it in once instead the two FGs we had in the beginning, we would have been in a good position to win. Still, can't fault Isi and CJA on this. They did their job.

I want the refs to show me what they think holding is. And show why they only call it on Cal."

mathghamhain - C.J. had a couple runs were he lost his footing right behind the line of scrimmage, which led to this (both times), "Stanford defense, dominating, that is what I'm talking about." No, the field is slick. Sadly, this male Stanford fan was sitting with a female, so there is a good chance he may procreate.

Pass Defense

1988goldenbear - Decent overall, but it reminded me of the USC game where Barkley had guys open but missed them a few times. And some of Luck's throws we're pretty much perfect.

sacman701 - A little worse than the stats suggest, as Stanford blew a bunch of open plays in the first half. Still, they were able to generate a good pass rush at times and made some plays in coverage. They were too soft on that damn 85 though.

prd74 - Dropped passes were saving us. Screens and passes to flat killed us. Too many wide open receivers, but then again, look who we were playing against.

Ursus Aureus - Decent considering the match-up nightmare that is the Stanford TE's and on a side note.... WHY IS ANDREW LUCK AN ANOINTED FIRST OVERALL PICK?! I don't get it. Sure, he's a good QB, a first-rounder on the same level/little better than Barkley and others, but if an NFL team (I'm looking at you Colts) thinks that Luck is ALL you need to fix your team, then they are in a RUDE awakening. If you are about to go 0-16 in the regular season, chances are you have more serious issues.

texashaterforlife - please for the love of beating Stanford and getting the axe, can we stop the play-action TE rollout pass. It kept Furd's drives alive cuz we would sell out against the run. Only area I was surprised to see the defense not perform like I thought they would. Could have been worse if not for some bad throws by Luck and dropped balls for Stanford.

oskiwow - "If Andrew Luck wasn't having an off night, the game would've been worse. There were a handful of passes that would've gone for TDs had he not overthrown his receiver.

A question for Pendergast: why can't we defend the short roll-out or screen passes? Also, the Furd's gameplan of Stepfan Taylor run on 1st, FB pass on 2nd, and FB rush on 3rd constituted much of the Furd's clock-chewing 7-minute drive in the 4th, and we didn't seem to have any way to stop it."

scuttleduck - If Andrew Luck is the best quarterback prospect since John Elway, then John Elway must have really sucked. I didn't see what NFL talking heads are drooling about.

MaximillianT - I think we contained luck ok

Rush Defense

prd74 - "Pretty stout overall. They were supposed to be all about power running. We matched their power pretty well IMO.


cjwethers - After that quick Montgomery score, our front 7 repeatedly stuffed Taylor, Wilkerson, Gaffney, and Stewart. Job well done.

slims - SOLID. Look, Stanford knows what they want to do - line up in Jumbo formation for 60 minutes. We made them air the ball out and it slowed their whole offensive cadence down. I'm super proud of our front four for this game.

hardtobecalfan - they couldn't get off the field when they needed to in the 2nd half, especially that long drive that burned like 7 min of clock. but kendricks made some beastly plays behind the line for us.

bigdruid - Mostly solid, except on one critical possession - Luck was having serious trouble early in the game, and Shaw went to the power running game. I think if we stop them on that drive, Stanford is back on their heels and doesn't recover - instead, they smash us in the mouth repeatedly and punch the ball in for a score, giving Stanford (and Luck) a chance to get their mojo back.

mathghamhain - I enjoyed that the AT'T Incredible Play of the Game was a "meh" run were Stepfan became a 1,000 yard rusher. Whatever, Isi totally did that last week....and can't they get real, whole fans, not step-fans?

Special Teams

fuzzywuzzy - KO coverage was better, the punts were good, no nice returns against us - I believe we beat them in that category, and we made a FG and a two-point conversion, which is something I'd thought we never do against a ranked team.

cjwethers - Never thought I'd say this, but we're gonna miss Tavecch the Wreck big-time next year.

hardtobecalfan - i guess manuel is our full time return man now? i thought coverage units did a great job without kapp. and even though the onside failed miserably, tavecchio did a good job with kicking all night considering the horrible conditions.

Jacobs - Great work! I hope you guys can keep that up against asu and whatever bowl we go to!

JABear - Golden. Some issues with coverage, and not getting the onside kick was kind of a bummer, but at this point in the season who cares?

SoCalOski - Solid, if unspectacular play. Where were these guys before? But horrible to see Kapp get injured on that opening kickoff. Feel really bad for the kid.

UncleSam22 - For a sloppy night on a crappy field, it was impressive to see them play as well as they did, especially given their struggles across the year.

Oski4Heisman - FORZA!


JustBear - "Tedford had finally prepared his team to play a solid game against good team on the road. This is what the fans wanted to see. We had so many blown out losses that people questioned Tedford's ability to prepare his players, and this game could have been like 50-7 loss, but instead the players fought hard and it actually became a great game.

One thing for Coach P. Please adjust our defense, so that the same guy (TE or FB) will not be wide open every single time he slips our to their right side. Other than that, pretty good defense. Losing McCain and Wilkerson definitely hurt."

ResBear - "I don't think the time we ""wasted"" in the final drive would've made much of a difference. Maybe if we still had three timeouts. Added up to something like 35 seconds, which just means an extra Stanfurd kneel...

WR pass play with Jones was ballsy - feels like we could've blown the game open had that succeeded. "

yg - Second half adjustments just don't seem to be the coaches' strong point. Can't blame endurance anymore; it just doesn't seem like the players improve after halftime.

Ursus Aureus - Clock management at the end was suspect but playcalling was alright (to my untrained eye). Frankly, where Cal has been found lacking the past few years is getting ready for the next game after a game where Cal has (a) won or (b) lost 'admirably' (Oregon 2010). A lot of this falls on the coaches. Their biggest test is getting our team to perform like this in Tempe. If we play like we did against Stanford in Tempe, we should give ASU fits. Will we be ready for it?

slims - Furd played with an edge and spark in playcalling that Cal simply didn't have. Furd was unpredictable and nuanced at times, Cal was predictable. Furd was fired up, Cal was playing catchup. Furd always seemed like they had an extra card to pull, and Cal always seemed stretched to its max. I think the coaching is a big reason for this.

puresilence - Solid all around. Clock management at the end and defense at times (especially during that 7-minute drive) in the fourth quarter left a bit more to be desired, but bouncing back after those turnovers and sticking to the gameplan to get within reach was great. Awesome job by Tedford and the coaching staff.

CalFan - Tedford, you idiot sissy. You think you can beat that team with field goals? The reason we had to try (unsuccessfully) to convert 4th and 5 from midfield in the 2nd half was you lacked the stones to go for it on 4th and goal from the 2 in the 1st half. Inexcusable.

UncleSam 22 - Tedford looked fired up and I like that. I thought that the team came out focused and committed and I was really impressed that the coaches all kept their heads as things feel apart and kept things close.

BrooklynBear - Agree with the topics from TwistnHook on the lack of a hurry up offense hurt the team at the end.

Overall Performance

BrooklynBear - Great effort and without the 1st fumble, the game is there for the winning.

sacman701 - Pretty good for the 3rd week in a row, and for once on the road. If we can play 90% as well against ASU, we should win with room to spare. Going toe to toe with a tough opponent like Stanford should help the team's confidence, and hopefully they will be hungry to close the regular season out with a win and we won't see a repeat of two years ago when they mailed it in against UW after beating Stanford.

nativeson - ps. FUCK STANFURD

c98 - Damn it. Go Bears.

Jacobs - So much better than I thought it would be. Compared to last years game at last furd knew there was a fight.

Willis Chong - "In the end, we needed to get TDs instead of FGs. I know we were ahead for a little bit, but we couldn't stay ahead because we scored 13 instead of 21 in the first half. Still, we stood toe to toe with a team that was supposed to beat us by 16 points and showed that we can be okay. It didn't help us that we had some stupid penalties and obvious Stanfurd cheating was not flagged. (Seriously, how many times did I see our DL get grabbed and couldn't make a play they were in position for? Is it any wonder that those Furd RBs got those super huge holes?)

I'm encouraged, which obviously means DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM."

Koalaballa - "With the season down to just one game left, I have to say that even with all the losses, it sure looks like our team has shown its growth. We've learned, on offense (Maynard's passing), defense (run-stuffing, pass coverage), and even special teams (No blocked XP!). We're playing away from home the whole season and its built character - there really hasn't been a complete (from the first kickoff) blowout all season long. We've been competitive, and although we've ultimately fallen short in five games, our team has played its heart out. I know that old blues have heard this all the time, but next year is looking quite good.

With a win at Arizona state next time (who just lost to a 2-8 Arizona!) we'd be 7-5, and a bowl win would put us at 8-5 in a rebuilding year.

C'mon Bears! No quitting and no dying! ROLL ON!!"

texashaterforlife - This is a loss, a Big Game loss, that I can sleep easy with. 2007's loss had me feeling like cutting myself to see if I was alive, and Last year's pre-game stupidity made me disgusted with my beloved bears (honestly felt as if Stanford deserved to win). I still want the win, badly. The Cal Bears showed heart and never quit. Now if only Stanford gets invited to the Sugar Bowl and can lay some cans of Whup-Ass on those vaunted SEC Defenses, I will be grateful for Stanford's 11-1 season record.

crystallogobear - "A good effort and a gutsy comeback attempt. The talk before the game was that our defense would at best perform similar to Oregon's and give up ~30 points. That turned out to be fairly accurate, though I think that our defense was not playing up to their usual standards, and we should have held them to significantly less. The thought was also that if they scored ~30 points, our offense would not be able to produce enough to keep up with them. That turned out to be also true, but not for the right reasons. Whereas our hopes were resting on the ability of our running backs, who destroyed Oregon St. and Washington St., to make up for the deficiencies of the passing game, it turned out that our passing game kept us in it in spite of the significant failing of the running game.

All in all, I thought we played well, but it took a little too long to figure out how to beat Stanford, and by the time we figured it out, the game ended before we could fully implement it."