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Cal vs. Oregon State Advanced stats in our Evans Hall Edition Week 10

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Cal football with its the glimmers of good, the swaths of bad and the occasional ugly in numerical form. Despite the recent doom and gloom these of the numbers of an average team. A team with issues but also with good characteristics to them. This week we face the worse FBS team on our schedule and the numbers prove it.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports


Post-Game Impressions

I was brought up in a Polish tradition. This means I am both used to things not going my way, but I am also passionate to the point of being a living caricature of a sports fan. So my expectations going into this game were low. Our offense has yet to finds its mojo (maybe Michael Jordan can share some of his secret stuff with us). There were moments, especially when we lined up to run with Vic Enwere or Daniel Lasco in the big bone (1 RB way back with 2 RBs/TEs in the backfield as FBs), when we were able to effectively move the chains. During those moments we were able to give Jared Goff a viable running threat. This wasn't to be for long since Cal decided to pass the ball 41 times and run it only 22 times. I understand the constraint of having to play catch-up with Oregon that scored 28 points in the 2nd quarter, yet while Oregon scored 31 unanswered points Cal had 26 plays of 113 yards (with the last drive being good for 9 plays and 63 yards).

On the defense I can say that with two turn-overs they tried their best to redeem themselves for allowing 777 yards to the Ducks. 477 of which came from the ground game. Oregon was 6 Kani Benoit yards short from allowing 3 100+ yard rushers in the game. This can be attributed to the surge of injuries on our D-line throughout and before the game.

Special team shined in this game with 2 great blocked punts giving the Bears 2 short fields on which we scored 10 points.

Overall, the game was like a Polish forest in the winter: embodies sadness.

Post-Week 9 Numbers for Cal (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12 North)

S&P+ Overall S&P+ Offense S&P+ Defense
California 44 (-3) 27 (-4) 71  (-11)

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

As we can see the bad performance in the game relative to Oregon's previous opponents has made the overall rankings take a hit. I think that we have finally settled in a low-variance phase of the season. Kinda like a senior year GPA where the last two semester barely move the needle.

Offense Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk
Explosiveness 1.23 80 1.21 51
Efficiency 48.10% 14 46.00% 106
Avg. Field Position 30 67 29.8 70
Pts. Per Trip in 40 4.62 82 4.69 69

Last week I said:

"Again we can see the flaws and strength of Cal football continuing. The offense struggling with trying to find a way to make big plays despite being able to make good progress with yeoman yards. Our field position begins to comeback down to earth once defense's high take-away numbers regressed to the mean."

This will become my final conclusion for Cal football come December. The inability to provide explosive plays will prove to be the bane of Cal football. Coaches and players looking at this statistic should take a look on how teams have been able to lock down our deep threats and our YAC generating plays. I can imagine it is by forcing our outside receivers to take an inside release on deep balls and secure tackling up the middle where the Tony Franklin System makes its money.

Player Pos. Catch Rate Target Rate
Kenny Lawler WR 60.30% 20.90%
Stephen Anderson TE 66.70% 14.60%
Bryce Treggs WR 59.10% 12.60%
Darius Powe WR 75.60% 11.70%
Maurice Harris WR 75.00% 9.20%
Trevor Davis WR 74.20% 8.90%
Khalfani Muhammad RB 63.60% 6.30%
Raymond Hudson TE 45.50% 3.20%
Kanawai Noa WR 62.50% 2.30%
Vic Enwere RB 75.00% 2.30%
Chad Hansen WR 71.40% 2.00%
Jeffrey Coprich RB 100.00% 1.40%
Daniel Lasco RB 80.00% 1.40%
Tre Watson RB 66.70% 0.90%
Bug Rivera WR 100.00% 0.60%

The ball distribution is still heavily weighted towards the top 4 that gathered 59.8% of the targets. From the Oregon game we saw both an inability to deliver the ball in catchable areas and a baffling inability to catch the balls that were on target. Furthermore, we see here the trend of a low rate of catches by the top targets continues and actually takes a dip from the numbers from last week:

Total Targets Total Catches Catch Rate
Top 3 168 104 61.90%
Top 5 241 159 65.98%
Top 10 321 212 66.04%


These two trends of a continuous reliance on the top 4 targets despite the drop rate shows that Goff still trusts his playmakers and his own arm in these situations. What is interesting is the high catch rate by Powe, Harris and Davis. Each of them are catch ~75% of the passes while being targeted only 29.8% of the time. We know that initially (August 25th) on the depth chart both Davis and Harris are the X receivers with Powe being the second strong H receiver. Is it because the plays do not have them high on the progression chart? If so maybe the scheme ought to feature these players more prominently to alleviate the pressure from out top targets.

Post-Week 9 Numbers for Oregon State (2-6, 0-6 Pac-12 North)

S&P+ Overall S&P+ Offense S&P+ Defense
Oregon 106 109 100

Avinash is right. Statistically speaking OSU is hot garbage especially since their starting QB Seth Collins is out with an injury. There isn't much that can be said about the OSU team. It definitely has strong vibes of Cal football from the canceled 2013 season with freshmen at QB, a new coach, and a team that hasn't been able to produce on either side of the ball. According to S&P+ this will be the worst team Cal will face all year long. With their only saving grace being a run defense that doesn't concede big plays, but concedes all else.

Offense Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk
Explosiveness 1.1 123 1.2 36
Efficiency 38.50% 103 47.10% 114
Avg. Field Position 27.5 112 29.8 68
Pts. Per Trip in 40 3.69 122 5.5 120

One of the characteristics of OSU is the reliance on the running game in passing situations.

Team Rk Nat'l Average
Std. Downs Run Rate 61.40% 52 60.30%
Pass Downs Run Rate 49.10% 7 33.70%

This could be due to the fact that the OC doesn't trust the arm of the QB in passing situations and is more inclined to roll the dice with the run. In these situations we should hope that Art Kaufman keeps LBs in between the line of scrimmage and the sticks to prevent any long runs on passing downs. The OC for the OSU Beavers has a very good reason to do so, the QBs that play for him are combine for 5 TDs and 9 INTs. We can see the Beavers rely on the run game heavily against Cal since the two QBs left on the roster have combined for 1 TD and 5 INTs.

The Beaver passing game should not be a large concern for the Bears, and with the sidelining of their leading rusher QB Seth Collins the run game will also lose a lot of its potency. Their leading rushing weapons are Storm Woods and Ryan Nall who have relatively unimpressive statistics.

Two statistics they the OSU team really shines in is the ability to prevent explosive rushing plays and generating running lanes for RBs.

Offense Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk
Rushing S&P+ 98.2 90 96.1 80
Rushing Success Rate 43.20% 58 49.60% 122
Rushing IsoPPP 0.99 95 0.91 10
Adj. Line Yards 101.5 67 91.4 100
Opportunity Rate 45.10% 7 44.40% 124
Power Success Rate 60.90% 92 77.80% 115
Stuff Rate 19.40% 67 14.40% 116

The former suggests that OSU will try to keep the ball away from Goff and in the belly of their RBs to win the game while hoping that Cal will not run the ball at them to for the same aim. I think this game should be put in Goff's hands to win, maybe this will allow him and our WRs to gain confidence in the scheme and in their skills.

Conclusion

There isn't a lot I was able to say about the Beavers due to the fact that across the board they have been a horrible team. Cal ought to win comfortable but being a Berkeley alumn and Cal fan I know to expect the unexpected. I was told by the President of the DC Alumn club that despite the Vegas odds I should keep in mind 2007 and Kevin Riley. So I will go into the game filled with cautious optimism that Cal can finally walk away from this game with a much needed win to secure an at least .500 season (my first since I became a hardcore Cal fan in 2013).

GO BEARS!