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2016 Cal vs. SDSU Football Report Card

Boy, oh boy.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Berkelium97: Another trip to San Diego turned into another loss for Cal. Good thing we won't end up in the Holiday Bowl this year!

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense 68.1% 20.9
Rush Offense 35.7% 22.9
Pass Defense 54.1% 21.9
Rush Defense 17.1% 19.3
Special Teams 33.2% 22.6
Coaching 38.4% 24.6
Overall 43.9% 20.9
Win Probability vs. Texas 36.2% (-23.7) 15.3

As always, pass offense leads the way with the highest scores of the week. We ran enough of these report cards in the later years of the Tedford era that I still find it novel when passing is our highest category. Even the most stoic of us would weep with joy if we could have had this level of quarterback play from 2008 through 2012. The rest of the report card is much less pleasant. I'm surprised we didn't have a lower run defense score given that Pumphrey is still running. I think he's made all the way up near Monterey by now. If you want to feel better about the run defense, it was a far cry from the 477 rushing yards we surrendered to Oregon last season!

Speaking of surrendering, our expectations of a win against Texas have plummeted from our preseason predictions. Texas' multifaceted offense and #11 ranking have put the fear of Bevo in us. At least Jerrod Heard doesn't play QB anymore. That's good news, right? Right...?

Pass defense is the only other category above 50% and, unfortunately, we may not see a worse QB than Chapman this season.

Let us lift our spirits with some awards. They're all that sustain us in these times of want and woe.


Editor's Choice

This week we have an Editor's Choice Award for the first time in quite a while. In fact, we have two winners of the Russia's Next Great Novelist award! The award goes to [yes, these are the full names entered in the username field] "THE RUN DEFENSE WAS TERRRRRRRIBBLLLLEEE!!!!!!! SONNY...DO SOMETHING FAST.....OR......OUT!!!!" and "You not watching the game at all horrible description of what went wrong. SDSU played better than Cal, offensive is linked to defense and My Cal had none. We were slightly better in offense. SDSU was a better team on the field, period. But we will grow and get better, sadly you are not a good journalist and that will remain. Cal4life" I see a bunch of text in that latter username and, much like one of Tolstoy's novels, I can't seem to make any coherent sentences out of it!

Fortunately I can make sense of our usual triumvirate of awards.

We lost, so that means we recognize the pessimists first.

Sonny Yikes!

Name Grade
1. C98 0.00 (0.0%)
2. Mad Dawg 0.20 (2.9%)
3. THE RUN DEFENSE…[aka Dostoyevsky] 0.90 (12.9%)
4. ChairmanMeow 1.30 (18.6%)
5. zbobear 1.6 (22.9%)

C98 leads the way with a big ol' goose egg, followed by Mad Dawg and THE RUN... [to avoid filling up SBNation's hard drives I'll omit the rest of the name]. A regular among the Sonny Yikes crowd, ChairmanMeow finishes fourth and zbobear rounds out the top five.

Now we recognize those who saw a glimmer of sunshine deep in the San Diego night.

Sonny Delight

Name Grade
1. mrjpark 5.40 (77.1%)
2. Fiatlux - once again, why is this box so huge? 5.20 (74.3%)
3. BTown85 4.70 (67.1%)
4. Brennan Duff 4.20 (60.0%)
5. pierrezod 4.10 (58.6%)

mrjpark leads the way. Fiatlux finishes second for the second consecutive week as he shows us exactly why that username box is so huge--so you can fill it with questions about why the box is so big! BTown, Brennan Duff (THE Brennan Duff?!), and pierrezod complete the top five.

Finally we tip our hats to those who can stay reasonable amid a rather frustrating loss.

The Voice of Reason

Name Deviation
1. Young_bear .0716
2. San Diego Oski .0878
3. Socalaztecfan .0973
4. Leon Powe .1004
5. FrmrG8r .1020

Young_bear's score wouldn't have cracked the top five last week, but it's good enough for first this week. Eerily, the next two have strong ties to San Diego. Leon Powe keeps alive the streak of CGB writers finishing among the most reasonable graders (I'm glad someone around here can keep us from a collective freak out!). And FrmrG8r finishes fifth despite a score of .1020.

Next we'll take a look at the comments from the report cards.

GoldenBearsBandwagon: After a disappointing loss to the SDSU Aztecs, it's difficult to imagine that any Cal fan could be upbeat after this week. But let's see what they have to say.

Gameday Experience

Zbobear: Came into it with high expectations and got slapped by reality. Not sure why I do this to myself every year, Cal fans never learn I guess.

Fiatlux - one again, whis is this box so huge?: Cal represented! Huge # of Cal fans there, we were loud, we had fun, we were cheering.... Actor Ed Quinn was there and came by and said hi... Had a great time at some tailgates. It's nice being able to wear shorts to a night game.

You not watching the game at all horrible description of what went wrong. SDSU played better than Cal, offensive is linked to defense and My Cal had none. We were slightly better in offense. SDSU was a better team on the field, period. But we will grow and get better, sadly you are not a good journalist and that will remain.

Cal4life: Fun, big stadium. Heart breaker, but a good game nevertheless.

Lucky1715: Incredibly disappointing performance in all aspects of the game. Our program looks to be in worse shape than I expected. Webb is not the QB I expected - he hangs onto the ball far too long; play calling wasn't weak; offensive line was struggling all night; special teams was back to their same inconsistencies; and then there was (or wasn't) the defense. Ugh.

Prd74: I dread away games when Cal plays on grass. We always play slower and look sloppy. Combine that with our usual bye week off rusty play, have never beaten SDS in SD, and that we looked mediocre against Hawaii, well, we looked Doomed. But... We beat Stinkin' State last year and hope is something that makes me a Cal fan. The game was brutal and we should have won, but when all was said and done I feel that this team learned a lot and our future will improve.

BearOnAMesa: Pretty solid Cal crowd- maybe a third to half of the stands behind the Cal bench were our fans! The lower levels were packed and it was a good, cordial, exciting atmosphere until my mother, who came to root for SDSU, attempted to high five me for "calling" the pick-6. That's some real nonsense right there.

Oski Wept: I've given up on the "gameday experience" as it's now entirely at the whim of television scheduling.

KMac: What a trashy tailgate. Some of the least classy fans I've ever encountered in my life. There is trash talking and then there are inappropriate vulgarities, SDSU chose the latter.

San Diego Oski: There was a half empty student section for a team that should go undefeated... And the SDSU crowd only got loud on 3rd down. I'm pretty sure I could hear Davis Webb thinking for a good chunk of the game.

OsoDeOro83: Festive college atmosphere at Qualcomm mega lot. Unpleasantries of bowing down to SDSU relatives at the game coupled with a mistake filled evening was one of the biggest humility pills swallowed as an old blue. Bleh!!!

Passing Offense

LVBear: Inconsistent but potent. It appears that Webb's mistake are going to haunt us all year.

Fiatlux - one again, whis is this box so huge?: Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. Some great stuff, great passes and catches... and then some bad passes (pick-6, pick to end the game) and too may dropped balls.

Harmonpreservationsociety: Mostly good. Despite a couple of tough drops on perfect passes by the WRs, there were open receivers all game. Davis Webb fit some balls into tight windows, though he windows were too tight on the INTs. It also appears that Davis Webb stares holes through his receivers.

BTown85: Webb is a bit of a gunslinger; seems to make a quick decision to throw and then does, sometimes with crap results. The pick-six was ridiculous; the other two INTs were unfortunate. Oh to have hit Hansen across the middle.......oh.....

Prd74: Davis Webb and his receivers will get better. It's only their second game playing together. It's not Jared Goff and his group, so I am hopeful.

hardtobecalfan: relied too much on it, especially in the 4th. 3 INTs were too much to overcome. but i liked how webb was spreading the ball around and hansen remains great.

BearOnAMesa: Accuracy has gone noticeably down from last year. Webb often under- and over-threw receivers and made several questionable decisions, like not running for it on a few plays and throwing into double coverage several times. Chemistry for that can't be built in a single offseason.

Worried Bear: A lot of yards who carres! It's a Loss! The scheme gave Davis Webb a chance too look great but bottom line on his performance is three interceptions that hurt big time and then a chance to win at the last moment and he missed a wide open receiver for the win! Is he a winner or a big stats guy? concerned...

mrjpark: Honestly, I'm not a fan. Webb is a fine passer, albeit he lets balls float a little too much. What I'm not a fan of is how many times we're asking him to throw the ball. You could honestly see a clear distinction between his accuracy at about before and after the 50 pass mark. I can't believe we asked him to chuck it up 72 times.

Leon Powe: Extremes of YES! and NO! We were right - the turnovers were a bad warning sign from TT. Absolute killers.

But we also know we got something cooking with D Rob and Hansen and Hudson. Just stop throwing to the other team.

Oski Wept: Webb is clearly a solid qb, and Cal has a stable of very talented receivers. However, I get the feeling that by the time Webb & Co develop the familiarity with each other that turns a good pass offense into a great pass offense, he will graduate, resulting in yet another season of a new qb and receivers finding their chemistry.

sup_doe_library: It's starting to feel that Cal is a factory for passing yards and we're reaching epic levels of "f_ck your cover 1". The ways in which the Cal receiving corps gutted the SDSU secondary were pretty awesome to watch. Kayzee made some big plays, but mostly he got torched all game. OL stepped up to the challenge of keeping Webb upright against a tricky defense. Webb played well, were it not for the 2 game changing TO's (pick6 and game ending pick) and if only he didn't slightly overthrow a gassed Hansen on a post in the final drive...

But in spite of all the yds, I think every team we play is going to watch that tape and stay in zones the entire game. We saw it last year, too--where the Cal O will dink and dunk, but not put up monstrous yardage totals--and with this team, the likelihood of a self inflicted mistake may be all opposing defenses need to win the game.

2004-present: Was really really good except when it wasn't. Turnovers ruined what would otherwise be a fantastic day. The deep ball was amazing but overall the offense disappeared for a long stretch in the second half and 3 interceptions sunk the comeback.

Run Offense

FrmrG8r: Still not a lot of room to run when we did. Is this a lack of commitment by the coaching staff or the fact that our receivers were running free all night?

Brennan Duff: Worked on occasion. Need more push at the line.

Prd74: We should have been more stubborn with the run. Although given how we were being stuffed, if we had been stubborn, we could have lost by a far larger margin. I think we learned something about our running game and improvements will be implemented. I hope.



BearOnAMesa: Quiet first quarter but reasonably efficient after that. Given the relative success on the ground it's all the more surprising we abandoned it in the 4th quarter.

Goldenbear70: No enough.... Run Enwere more!

Mrjpark: It's much better than we gave it credit. Once Webb was beating SDSU over the top, we needed to take advantage of it and run the ball. Instead, we just had Webb pass more. If this is Spavital's offensive game plan, I want out.

LeonPowe: Notorious VIC looked really effective, which makes it head scratching that we went away from it.

Oski Wept: Inconsistent? The OL makes blocking errors on too many plays to have the run game be truly effective. And it's now Dykes' 4th year. This troubles me.

Sacman701: The RBs averaged a respectable 5.4 yards per attempt against a good run defense, although they didn't get going until late. Unfortunately we abandoned the run on our two late possessions where we had a chance to go ahead.

Sup_doe_library: there were moments where it was effective, but ultimately it wasn't a game changing part of the offense. I was disappointed that the OL couldn't get push on a smaller / less talented front 6/7, but I can't give them too much crap either because they did an excellent job in pass pro.

Pass Defense

Bobodeluxe : Much better than recent past.

Calbears : Played good enough to win.

FrmrG8r: Very tough to cover receivers when you spend all night chasing down running backs.

Uthaithani : Not great considering SDSUs QB can barely throw.

Harmonpreservationsociety: We didn't get beaten over the top, that's good enough for me.

BearOnAMesa: A couple good deflections but too many 3rd and longs converted via wide-open passes over the middle. Downfield tackling from the secondary needs to improve.

LeonPowe: I thought the defensive backs were very decent in coverage - which doesn't make up for their very bad tackling. Also, I thought the defensive line played decently.

Oski Wept: The DL gets pressure about 10 - 25% of the time, meaning the pressure is on the LBs and secondary. Our LBs and secondary are young, inexperienced, and confused. We've been lucky thus far to not have faced a truly good passing team. That may change real soon, and the pass defense deficiency will be exposed.

Sacman701: One ugly moment on SDSU's first TD where we bit on the fake, but otherwise we got the better of them: less than 6 yards per attempt, and a pick.

Sup_doe_library: Still don't know what this defensive backfield is made of yet, but for the most part there's potential. Allensworth looks every bit the part of a D1 #1 CB, and Franklin, Vanderbilt, and Rambo look solid enough (against G5, teams anyway). Pass rush was still less than we need it to be, though Looney and Wilson did have better games this time around.

2004-present: SDSU mostly ran the ball so not much to go on, I don't recall any big gash plays so positive I guess.

Run Defense

Zbobear: As good as Pumphrey is, we shouldn't have given up that many yards or TDs. He was literally in every single offensive play. We couldn't even keep him under control in the 4th quarter.

Calbears : Wish we had one.

Southpawo5: DEs struggled all day at setting the edge. Most of the D-line consistently got pushed back as they are a very undersized group. Devante Downs is the only LB that flashed any play-making ability. Other LBs and safeties consistently took poor angles all night. Teams will run on Cal all year.

Tahoegal: What run defense? Obviously needed to focus on their runner as they weren't really passing.

Brennan Duff: No push, missed tackles, rare tackling in space, etc. The run defense was able from time to time hold the Aztecs to less than 10 yards, but was too few and far between to ever attempt making a difference.

BTown85: The easy answer is "what run defense." So.....Pumphrey is a talented back with elite speed. If we let people like him get past the front line, we're going to have a long season.......

BearOnAMesa: Pumphrey's legit but we contained him last year. Flashes of competence, streaks of incompetence.

Oski Wept: Horrible. Terrible. Awful. Remember how happy we were last year when our run defense was just bad? Well, it's back to horrible. This is Dykes' 4th year. There are no more Tedford excuses. The responsibility and failure falls on Sonny D.

KMac: Does Cam Saffle know he's supposed to hold the edge?

2016 Run Defense = 2014 Pass defense.

It's been two days since the game and I'm sober, Kaufman should be fired before the end of the year.

Sacman701: Yuck. SDSU can run, but their RBs shouldn't go for 337 on 8.2 a pop. The DL wasn't too bad, but none of our LB or DB are very good at tackling, shedding blocks, or especially diagnosing plays. As a result, we get our fair share of stops but give up a ridiculous number of big runs. As ugly as our run defense was, SDSU had 31 points on 13 possessions (including one that started at our 25) which isn't a terrible result.

Sup_doe_library: There are too many comments about the run defense, or lack thereof. Cal is still incapable of keeping contain--though that doesn't matter as much because the pursuit can't tackle the ballcarrier anyway. If Hardy's chonies are still somewhere in the Rose Bowl after last years game (courtesy of Paul Perkins), then Aisea's chonies are still in flight to Mexicali after Pumphrey juked him out of 'em. Gap assignments are still blown, DL penetration is still subpar, DL is easy to bait into overpursuit making counters and draws easy money.

One of these days, the Cal D is going to figure out how to get off the field--but it probably won't be against a power run team.

Nor-Cal Scott: About what I suspected against a top RB like Pumphrey. He burned us up the middle with his strength and on the outside with his speed. LB's too slow to close the outside on those sweeps.

Special Teams


Calbears : Gave up kickoff return but recovered onside and converted FG. Didn't cost us the game.

FrmrG8r: Just when we think things are back on track, we sully the bed. Then, at the height of our frustration, the most beautiful onside kick you will ever see at any level. This group is beyond frustrating.

Fiatlux - one again, whis is this box so huge?: Almost great. The kickoff return for a TD was helped immensely by a blatant block in the back... Otherwise seemed like we did well. And for the second time in our last four games we executed a perfect onside kick.

Harmonpreservationsociety: Matt Anderson is turning into a reliable kicker. Once again, kick coverage broke the Golden Bears' backs.

BTown85: Great, except for the missed tackles on the TD return. Back breaker.....

Hardtobecalfan: good: field goals remain good, wonderful onside kick
bad: kick off coverage is atrocious

BearOnAMesa: The onside kick recovery almost cancels out the TD allowed, but there were far too many errors beyond that. Aztecs consistently had better field position than us.

Mrjpark: Except from the kickoff return for the TD, I think they did great. Matt Anderson is a reliable kicker that probably doesn't get enough credit for being as consistent as he has been recently.

Sup_doe_library: KOR was lackluster, starting field position after KOR was what, 18 yd line? PR was lackluster, I keep thinking VW3 is going to get his clock cleaned. KO coverage was OK were it not for the 100 yd return that started with 3? missed tackles--which would have been the difference in the game...

The onside though--thing of beauty. Perfect bounce, perfect recovery, perfect way to get our hopes up before dashing them against the rocks.


Zbobear: The coaches had TWO WEEKS to prepare for them for this game and we still fell short. Pass/run ratio for our offense was horrendous.

Fiatlux - one again, whis is this box so huge?: I didn't think it was terrible. A few play calls I didn't like, but overall I thought our game management was pretty good.

Prd74: We lost to a team we should have beaten, so the blame must go to the coaches. If we see no improvements then the heat on the seats should and will get turned up. We are not at the total meltdown phase yet.

Hardtobecalfan: suspect playcalling especially during our 3-and-outs. someone needs to teach our defense to take good angles and not arm tackle.



DEFENSE WINS THE GAME....65% of the time!!!!

Goldenlikethebear: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Worried Bear: Defense is the same old story with the Dykes erra. Bad. If we had an average defense we would be in the national picture every year. Can't coach Dykes see that'? There needs to be a change at defensive coordinator and more emphasis put on recruiting quality defensive players. Otherwise this is just going to continue, a team that puts up legendary offensive numbers but is not capable of being a winner in the Pac 12 or nationally. Otherwise lets go division 2, maybe we could all be winners.

Mrjpark: I think the coaches put us in a fine position to win, and the players failed them every time. For the most part. At first, I was kind of irked by how we ended the 1st half, but I'm okay with Sonny's concerns about Webb. I miss Tony Franklin, though, as I do not want Webb with 70+ pass attempts in ANY game when we have 3 great running backs there to make his life easier.

Oski Wept: No more blaming Tedford. No more blaming Buh. No more blaming injuries or inexperience or bad luck or sun spots or Trump.

I know that two games is insufficient data from which to reach a conclusion, but two games plus three years does provide more than ample information from which one may develop an understanding. And, unfortunately, we need to finally admit that keeping Dykes means that we accept perpetual mediocrity, with the occasional drop into abject failure. There is nothing about his time here that would lead me to believe he is anything more than a mediocre coach, who inevitably finds himself in a position where the situation in the game causes him to throw his hands in the air and wear an expression of confusion/desperation/frustration. In fact, if we ever have a Dykes statue commissioned, it will have to be the one where he has his hands in the air and that look of confusion/desperation/frustration on his face.

In four years Dykes has attracted very talented receivers; good RBs and QBs, and marginal offensive linemen. Defensively, even though he may target the stars, Dykes consistently whiffs. For whatever reason, he has not been able to obtain and retain the commitment of any impact defensive players. And because of that, his tenure will be, at best, meh.

2016 may well be the perfect example of the Dykes legacy at Cal. I expect 4 wins, no true upsets, and another 0-3 year against our California rivals.

Welcome to Cal, home of malaise.

Sacman701: The game plan was ok for the most part, but I think the decision to abandon the run just as it was starting to work was a mistake. Also, the punt at the end of the first half was incomprehensible. If Webb is banged up, just bring Forrest in and have him chuck it into the end zone.

Sup_doe_library: I think Spav is really coming into his own with the playcalling. The offense, I think, is real. The explosive potential is there, the balance, the ability to adjust to the other team's adjustments--I think this offense is going to be great/Top 10, maybe as soon as mid-season.

But let me fire up the time machine to 2014: we might be seeing a historically bad Cal defense, here. And OK they only gave up 24 some odd points--but that's just because their defense/ST scored 14 of them for 'em. This will be the second historically bad D coached by Art Kaufman. We're still struggling with basics in Week 2--with 2 weeks to prepare for this game...and we give up almost 300 yds on the ground to 1 guy? If Kaufman's seat isn't already alight, keep his butt away from open flame until this defense shows it can stop the run. Get off on 3rd and long. Do the basics like tackle and contain the BC. Not blow gap assignments, overpursue, or any of the plethora of mistakes the D made last Sat night.

OsoDeOro83: Didn't really see the adjustments after the half i was expecting. More of the same didn't get it done in the 2nd half either

2004-present: I'm glad Sonny and co. have their guys playing hard to the end, but they need to do a better job actually preparing them play. How can this regime fail so miserably at making sure kids know how to tackle, block, and stay in position on defense this late in their reign? This issue needs to be addressed NOW.

Overall Performance

Zbobear: Frustrated and disappointed after watching this game. Scared for Texas next week, I hope we won't be humiliated.

FrmrG8r: How we are still in this game at the end defies explanation. Every running back in the PAC12 has to be licking his chops at the thought of lining up against this group.

Fiatlux - one again, whis is this box so huge?: Such a perfect Rorschach test for Cal nation. Bitter Old Blues will focus on the things to make them more bitter (if that's possible). Sunshine pumpers will focus on the things that give them hope. And the rest will probably say "well, that was entertaining."

Brennan Duff: Decent. Hard fought game that's for sure, but I'm not really ready for another season of moral victories. Cal seemed to have hurt themselves more than anything. Like throwing a pass to an Aztec defender on the 10 yard line. The game initially reminded me of the 2012 Rose Bowl between Oregon and Wisconsin, where neither side really could stop the other, but Cal's execution of their game plan was so lacking I don't think I can truely draw that parallel.

Gigoogly: The game went in classic Cal Woo fashion, high expectations with catastrophic heart break and a bitter after taste. Can't wait for next week's cardiac Bears session.

BearOnAMesa: There's the view that we made far too many mistakes, and there's the view that we made far too many mistakes and still had a chance to win. And then there's the Cal view that this narrative is all too common.

LeonPowe: Man, we just cannot get out of our own way. Pumphery is good, but we just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. Dropped passes, overthrown passes, interceptions, missed tackles, penalties. When the offense put together some stuff, the defense was bad. When the defense put some pressure on, the offense couldn't take advantage. Special teams - let's just not help out the defense. Coaching - let's compound all the mistakes.

I'm an optimist, and I still am on the Dykes bandwagon - although I'm not sure about his ceiling - but you know this team was at best a marginal bowl team if everything went right. And SDSU was one of those teams we had to beat to get to six - it looks like pretty tough sledding from here on out.

OsoDeOro83: This gane felt a lot like last years lost to Utah. We mostly outplayed them but we couldn't get out of our own way and basically gave the game away. This happens almost every year at least once

Nor-Cal Scott: SDSU is a better team, period. Last years win was a fluke with a different QB. They've won every game since then. WTS, they beat us on the LOS, both sides of the ball. For the size & experience of our OL, and the 3 solid RB's, Cal should have a MUCH better running game.

Avi's twitter rants were so short sided. SDSU also gave up big plays to Cal. The fact is they have a much better defense and that was the difference in the 4th Qtr.

2004-present: About what I expected which isn't good. I still see a 4-8 team out there that can put up fine passing numbers but gets pushed around easily by teams that are bigger, stronger, and more disciplined. Those are the teams that go on to win championships so if our boys hope to ever taste that glory they'd better improve those areas in a big hurry.

Thanks for the responses, and let's hope that we can bounce back against Texas this week. Go Bears, and hope to see you back next week.