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Cal Football: Evans Hall Stats [Week 7]

Some losses are expected: “Oh well, we’ll get them next time.” But this loss was a gut-wrenching, sky-is-falling, losses that will haunt me.

NCAA Football: California at Oregon State Cole Elsasser-USA TODAY Sports

Before Cal took the field in Corvallis doubt and bad feeling started to permeate my gut. The wide-spread feeling that we were entitled to a win against OSU felt uneasy in my stomach.

I hate to the Cassandra in this case. But here we are at the heels of the worst loss that Cal football has had since the 1-11 season. This is the second time we’ve lost to OSU during my Cal fandom, I remember the first one because it was my senior year when we were blown out by OSU at home in the drenching rain and in that rain I felt the . The same gut wrenching feeling came back Saturday night, this time I was in D.C., thousands of miles away.

Not much I can say that hasn’t been said by other writers (Nick Kranz) and podcasters (Nam Le and Scott Chang) and I highly suggest you check them out for the Oral History of the Game.

This will remain my favorite tweet that encapsulated the fan perspective of the game:

Also I will have to put this here in bold letters:

Here is the S&P+ story of the game:

Bill Connelly

Davis Webb was abysmal throughout the game. This can be attributed to the dislocated finger that he suffered early in the game. However, the decision to keep him in the game with it is puzzling. This is due to the fact that his Yards Per Attempt were absolutely, and utterly, abysmal:

  • 2.44 YPA. There is literally no comparison for how bad this performance was, especially taking into consideration the number of attempts made. In the history of the NFL (only stats I have for this) there have only been 146 games with lower YPAs for players with 15 or more attempts, the NFL has had over 15,000 football games in that time span.
  • The 1.75 YPA on Std. Downs means that he Davis Webb, at 6 foot 5 inches, were to fall face forward at the line of scrimmage, he would on avg. gain more yards than he would if he were to pass the ball.

Would our backup QBs have done a better job? Either yes or no answer to this question is worrisome:

  • Yes and our HC/OC made a strategic error of not pulling an injured Webb.
  • No, and our 2017 QB situation got much much worse.

Another utterly puzzling thing was the fact that the Run/Pass split was barely 50/50 despite Tre Watson and Khalfani Muhammad utterly dominating on the ground with long gains and exceptionally efficient play.

Only when OSU’s FULLBACK Ryan Nall went down did OSU’s efficiency go down. When Nall was in the game OSU’s efficiency dip down to below the national avg. The numberous calls to sell-out for the run went unheard despite the fact that

This week I will only do Cal’s numbers and take the BYE week to do Oregon’s analysis.

University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears 3-2 (1-1, Pac-12 North) S&P+ Overall Ranking: 53


Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
S&P+ 40.4 10 36.5 112
Points Per Game 42.3 14 40.0 119

Good news everyone: our S&P+ ranking... got better? I think due to the sheer volume of passess before the OSU game, the egg dropped by Webb in this game was crowded away by past data. Furthermore, the strong performance by Muhammad and Watson buoyed the overall stats.

Our defense remains... 2013-esque.

Offense Defense
Category Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.35 37 1.19 38 1.28
EFFICIENCY Success Rate 45.1% 35 47.7% 121 40.7%
FIELD POSITION Avg. FP 29.6 71 29.1 63 29.6
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 5.08 47 5.71 121 4.72
TURNOVER MARGIN EXPECTED -2.05 97 Turnover Luck (PPG):

Cal is pretty much holding steady and seems to be anchored in the “really good offense hampered by an utterly abysmal defense” world. Cal, have a seat next to Texas Tech.

Passing Offense and Defense

Offense Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Passing S&P+ 102.1 67 105.0 50 100.0
Passing Success Rate 43.2% 47 41.9% 78 40.7%
Passing IsoPPP 1.52 60 1.34 31 1.49
Adj. Sack Rate 157.9 27 81 91 100

Competent. This is how I would describe this passing offense if we simply look at these numbers. This passing offense is a far-cry from the heights of the 2015 season where the success rate was 7 percentage point higher and the overall passing S&P+ ranking in the Top 5. Yet, this is reasonable, that offense had 4 NFL calibre wide-outs, the #1 Overall Pick at QB, and 3 years in the system.

The issues with this group of receivers is simple a lack of experience in this system as well a lack of experience in the college football game. Furthermore, the lack of trust between Webb and other WRs is becoming evident to opposing DCs who are now committing resources to shut-down Hansen, daring Webb to use his other weapons. How he will respond will largely dictate whether we end up 0-6 or 5-1 in the rest of the season (I don’t think we have a prayer in beating Washington considering that their 4 DLs and 1 LB could probably shut down our rushing game).

The passing defense is good. Mostly, again, due to a lack of passing done against them throughout the last 6 games. Unlike the Cal offense, the last 6 opponents (sans Texas in the second half) have been able to dynamically adapt their gameplan to key on our greatest weakness: STOPPING THE DAMN RUN GAME.

Rushing Offense and Defense

Offense Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk Nat'l Avg.
Rushing S&P+ 123.0 17 90.4 101 100.0
Rushing Success Rate 48.5% 23 51.9% 125 41.8%
Rushing IsoPPP 1.07 66 1.11 78 1.10
Adj. Line Yards 123.5 15 89.3 109 100.0
Opportunity Rate 44.6% 18 44.6% 117 39.6%
Power Success Rate 75.0% 31 70.6% 78 67.9%
Stuff Rate 14.0% 13 11.1% 126 18.6%

Much has been said about the run defense, and my thoughts about the run defense are...

The run offense is good. Relatively to the rest of the FBS, it is a good part of our offense and I am continue to be confounded by the failure to utilize this despite the numbers telling us otherwise. This is even if we can’t score a home-run with the rush, we can hit enough doubles to stay ahead.

This is a rushing offense that can finally grind out the power runs it needs to get the 2-3 rough yards, this is a run offense that gets tons of help from their offensive line in the form or Line Yards and a very low Stuff Rate.

Those are two exceptionally potent runners who have shown that with enough touches they can BOTH get +100 yards on the ground.

Rant over.

Other Advanced Stats

Due to the BYE week I can drill down into the more detailed stats. First we’ll look at the situational info:

Offense Defense
Avg. Rk Avg. Rk
Q1 S&P+ 112.6 52 95.9 84
Q2 S&P+ 100.0 82 93.8 87
Q3 S&P+ 99.9 75 85.4 113
Q4 S&P+ 141.1 2 92.2 101
1st Down S&P+ 119.5 16 94.9 88
2nd Down S&P+ 99.7 78 91.5 98
3rd Down S&P+ 117.1 43 86.1 104

We’re cold and we’re cold, then we’re cold... AND THEN WE ARE HOT.

This is a sleeping bear team. With an offense that starts slowly like a lethargic bear that was roused from its hibernation (Q1 S&P+). Then it the bear slowly stumbles out and then trips upon itself in the 2nd stage of waking up (Q2 S&P+)... slowly but sure it falls back asleep (halftime)... wakes up groggy again, trying to finds its bearings (Q3 S&P+), and once it realizes that it can either die in the last stage of waking up or surge back-up and ferociously fight (Q4 S&P+).

Not sure what is happening with this team. On one part we can chalk-it up to the relative inexperience of the team on offense. Yet, the O-Line and the RBs are all experienced players, Webb is a graduate transfer who has had playing experience... The coaching aspect of the team might be lacking. The Cal offense has the fire within it to light up any defense at any night. However, it takes 3 quarters of mediocre play and falling behind to light up.

I guess the wick was damp. And the offense gotta “fire it up” cause the opportunity to win big in this conference is rushing by us.

Team Rk Nat'l Average
Std. Downs Run Rate 64.7% 26 59.4%
Pass. Downs Run Rate 36.0% 50 34.2%
Overall Havoc Rate 11.6% 120 16.4%
DL Havoc Rate 3.2% 103 5.1%
LB Havoc Rate 2.4% 116 4.6%
DB Havoc Rate 6.0% 80 6.5%
PD to INC 32.1% 76 33.4%


All I can say. Nam Le in his Rivals column talks about the HAVOC rate, but I haven’t touched it in my work till now.

It is bad. Real bad. 8th worst in the nation bad. As in when I try to find positives in this data:

Each of the defensive positions isn’t getting any type of disruptive play that would allow the defense to give itself a breather. The thing with bend-don’t-break is that one can only do it so often until it does break. At the rate we’re going this defense has to find a way to make plays or else we’re screwed, no matter how good our offense is going to be.


It isn’t good. Webb’s questionable, Hansen is in the boot. The offense seems to be allergic to running the ball more (41.4% of the time, good for 125th in the nation on Std. Downs, we are 18 percentage points behind the national avg). Furthermore, we can’t start hot, and we can’t get hot until the water is up to our necks.

And the team, and our hearts, cannot afford to rely on the defense, no matter how many heroic 4th quarter stands they take. The defense can make a stop or two, but that’s all we can count on in the long run.