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#20 Cal vs. UCLA Advanced stats in our Evans Hall Edition Week 7

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Big Brother is coming to town and he is rested after a sobering defeat at the hands of Utah. This week Cal will face its former southern campus at the Rose Bowl (hopefully not the only trip this team will have to the Rose Bow) settle many friendship straining arguments over which UC reigns supreme.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Week 7 Numbers for #20 Cal (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12 North)

S&P+ Overall S&P+ Offense S&P+ Defense
California 29 (+20) 20 (+18) 43  (+22)

As it was requested earlier, this is the primer I wrote on S&P+ stats that I will be using throughout the year.

Whoa, Cal in a stunning reversal of any predictions defeated the vaunted BYE week vaulting the whole team by about 20 spots in every aggregate category for the S&P+ statistics.

Real talk: the increase in the ranking can be attributed to the fact that as the season progresses the ranking adjust to the performance of Cal's foes. Looking back at how the other teams are performing against the opposition we can see that overall all of the teams we faced have been very good, and our "quality loss", borrowing an SEC term here, is to a very highly ranked Utah team. Washington, SDSU, and WSU have proven to be very formidable teams right now as they are ranked #44, #59, and #61 respectably.

Offense Defense
Category Avg. Rk Avg. Rk
IsoPPP 1.27 62 1.16 30
Success Rate 49.10% 11 42.50% 75
Avg. FP 32.8 19 30.1 83
Pts. Per Trip in 40 4.73 76 4.9 85

If we look deeper into the main Five Factors that S&P+ uses to evaluate each team, we can see that it is the efficiency of our offense combined with our defense's ability to generate turnovers for very good field position and ability to limit big plays on offense have propelled Cal into a high ranking. Of course the old ills of our offense remains: lack of explosive plays on offense, bad execution in the opponent's 40 yard line and mediocre performance of the defense in limiting efficient plays.

Post-Week 7 Numbers for UCLA (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12 South)

S&P+ Overall S&P+ Offense S&P+ Defense
UCLA 25 18 46

Quick confession time: before coming to Cal in 2010 I was agonizing over whether or not to go to Cal or UCLA. It all came down to a coin toss and off I went to NorCal. UCLA is also my sister's and her husband's alma mater so shout-out to them.

UCLA has had a rough two game stretch with losses against ASU and Stanfurd. Both games were lost by double digits with many players falling victim to the injury bug including their Swiss Army knife LB/RB Myles Jack. The offense is shouldered by the quintet of QB Josh Rosen, RB Paul Perkins, WR Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte. The Rosen one is given more and more responsibilities in the offense, especially in the last two games since he had 40+ attempts. Overall, people can see why there is a lot of hype around him: he has lead the UCLA passing offense to a respectable #41 S&P+ ranking with a less efficient passing game but with more explosive plays.

UCLA Offense Cal Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk
Passing S&P+ 112.1 41 97.4 74
Passing Success Rate 44.50% 35 39.10% 55
Passing IsoPPP 1.59 38 1.37 44
Adj. Sack Rate 378.9 5 123.6 32

We can see that overall Cal will have to figure out a way to stop the duo of Payton and Duarte who both combine for 41.6% of Josh Rosen's targets. We can see that UCLA, like Utah, has a very good pass-protection scheme. Let us see how Cal's Kragen will play against UCLA whose LT Conor McGermott is injured. Will we be able to lock down Payton and Duarte? Can we exert enough pressure on the Rosen one from his blindside?

UCLA Offense Cal Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk
Rushing S&P+ 115.2 39 94 81
Rushing Success Rate 46.90% 32 46.10% 100
Rushing IsoPPP 1.06 72 0.98 41
Adj. Line Yards 109.2 45 90.1 103
Opportunity Rate 42.00% 33 41.00% 94
Power Success Rate 63.20% 81 64.70% 61
Stuff Rate 20.70% 83 19.00% 80

Another concern is stopping the run in a Paul Perkins powered offense. He has had the bulk share of carries (53% of total UCLA carries) with a series of exceptional games against UNLV and BYU and mad ones against Arizona and ASU (3.5 ypc). He is one of the key players for the offense, and Cal that has been sub-standard (see Utah game).

Across the board UCLA has the advantage against Cal sans in the big play department. I expect UCLA to give the rock to Perkins to keep Rosen away from the Kragen, and Goff away from the field. I can see Cal dropping an additional safety a couple yards closer to the line to contain the run. Either way UCLA has the advantage against our offense, however, I have more faith in our passing defense to contain the freshman Rosen than Perkins.

When Cal has the ball I fully expect us to ground UCLA to the ground with the run game. UCLA lost key contributors in the front 7 (aforementioned Myles Jack, Eddie Vanderdoes and possibly Deon Hollins). We can begin to see the impact of those losses on the S&P+ rushing statistic:

Cal Offense UCLA Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk
Rushing S&P+ 124.5 19 108.6 47
Rushing Success Rate 46.00% 38 40.10% 54
Rushing IsoPPP 1.02 86 1.07 65
Adj. Line Yards 102.3 72 100.8 67
Opportunity Rate 41.70% 37 40.90% 93
Power Success Rate 43.50% 125 91.70% 128
Stuff Rate 22.40% 101 14.40% 115

We can see that we can pound the ball, as long as Goff can keep the box light with his arm, and with this game being a match-up between Cal's weakness (Power Runs and Stuff Rates) and UCLA's weaknesses. We can see that UCLA is much worse comparatively than Cal in those statistics. I still do not trust our offense to execute on short runs but this is an encouraging nugget of information for us to pounce on Thursday night.

Conclusions

Cal>(Strictly Preferred to)UCLA>Washington State>Utah>Colorado>Arizona>Oregon State=Arizona State>Oregon>Oregon State>Stanfurd>USC.

That's my pecking order of Pac-12 team from most to least liked. I like UCLA, I cheer for them anytime we do not play them, like an older brother on the younger one. However, Thursday night I want Goff to comeback from the Utah game with a chip on his shoulder ready to show Josh Rosen how it is done. A part of me feels that we may witness a true master-class in quarterbacking from Jared in this game. I can also see that Daniel Lasco will comeback with a vengeance from the injury and the unfortunate run against Utah.

Offense Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk
Q1 S&P+ 127.8 21 90 97
Q2 S&P+ 140.8 8 105.2 56
Q3 S&P+ 139.4 7 105.2 59
Q4 S&P+ 101.2 72 81.3 122
1st Down S&P+ 129.9 8 91.3 98
2nd Down S&P+ 128 16 95.7 81
3rd Down S&P+ 124.9 21 100.3 74

When we look at the per quarter and per down breakdown of our team we can see that our offense is now dominant 2 our of 4 quarters. We need to continue to aim for good execution in all 4 quarters, make the 4th quarter ours again as well as start hot.  A on defense it is the same story: we need to start hotter and end hotter to close off games. If we can't find consistency then us Cal fans will have to keep our cardiologists on call on Thursday night.

To conclude, I see Cal winning this game while relying on the run with Goff playing a magnificent game. The passing defense needs to play a game as good as the one they played against Utah since I can see Perkins dominating on the ground more. If we can contain Perkins and force Rosen to pass a lot Cal will have a chance to generate turnovers against a true freshman QB.

Cal 35 - UCLA 24

GO BEARS!