Cal vs. Oregon State Football: Some Advanced Stats

Cause we need more numbers to confirm what we saw, and what we might need

Before the game, Bill Connelly released his SP+ data for Week 11 of the season. He won't be able to update it with the results of the Cal vs. UCLA game. In that table, he had Cal 53rd overall, 48th on offense, and 68th on defense (former being higher due to a high pct. of snaps gone to the NFL). UCLA was ranked 77th overall, 47th on offense, and 91st on defense. I presume both schools will converge closer to the middle of the pack due to how the game played out.

Football Outsiders have Cal post-UCLA 47th overall in their F+ measure, mostly buoyed by the FO's efficiency index. The offense is 85th, and the defense is 59th (follows the trend of a high variance season).

Again, I won't go too deep into those numbers due to a tainted small sample size that is more noise than signal. 

Some Key Offensive Numbers

  • Jamies Sheahan punted for a net of 238 yards; the offense yielded 176 yards. Fun fact: that's bad.

  • 17 rushes from RBs ran yielded 48 yards for a 2.82 YPC clip. Considering UCLA's Colorado game where the RBs gained a 4.34 YPC (Jarek Broussard averaged 6 YPC) emphasizes the offense's awful rushing game. 

  • Of the 17 rushes by RBs and 11 by Chase Garbers, 25 of them happened before Modster came on with the 2nd team (3 rushes, 2 by Bradrick Shaw, and 1 by Chris Street). Of those 25 rushes, 20 of them were designed runs (14 by RBs, 6 by Chase), 12 of them were out of 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE), 3 out of 12, 2 out of 21, and 1 from 22, 20, and 10 each. 

  • The runs from 11 personnel ranged from shotgun and an inline TE to singleback sets with trips on either side. The 20 and 21 runs were from the I formation. 

  • There were 38 passing plays with Garbers in, 5 were sacks. Otherwise, Chase netted a 3.7 YPA average, removing his sole long of 26 his average drops to a 3 YPA, 2.3 AY/A (both worst in the nation), which to borrow from our friend Nam Le: suboptimal. 

  • 31 of those plays came out of 11 personnel (a similar mix to the rushing game); otherwise, it was a mix of 12, 21, 20, and 10. Groupings. 

  • One thing worth noting is that Chase targetted Kekoa Crawford 7 times but only had 2 completions for 17 yards.

  • UCLA generated 20 HAVOC plays (1 INTs, 5 Sacks, 9(!!!!) TFLs, 5 PBUs). On 62 Cal offensive plays, it is a 32.3% HAVOC rate. That's bad, especially with the TFLs since it indicates a failure of the OL to runblock. 

  • Finally, when your leading all-purpose player nets 42 yards, you're in for a bad time, and I don't need to run a machine-learning algorithm to tell that. 

    Some Key Defensive Numbers

  • Despite the touchdown numbers, DTR didn't have a banner day as a passer (196 yards, 26 attempts, 7.54 YPA, 8.1 AY/A, which puts him at the median of the QBs). 

  • The worst for the Cal defense came from the UCLA RBs and DTR, 244 total yards on 54 carries (4.5 YPC, long of 31). UCLA was able to run against Cal with impunity, especially when Cal's front 7 could only generate 6 negative yards. 

  • Cal generated 5 QB hurries but no sacks; this indicates a capacity to get to the QB but a failure to finish the job (follows the Cal defense trend of struggling against mobile QBs). 

  • Cal generated 7 HAVOC plays (1 INTs, 2 TFLs, 4 PBUs) on 80 UCLA plays for an 8.75% rate, which is pretty bad.  

  • Another alarming stat is the fact that Safety Daniel Scott was the leading tackler (11 tackles), with JH Tevis at (10 tackles) and both Elijah Hicks and Evan Tattersall netting 7 tackles. The fact that both safeties are the top 4 leading tacklers of the team indicates that the DLs/LBs are removed from the play, letting rushing plays go to the secondary. 

  • Another scheme related issue is that Kuony Deng was racking up 5 tackles. We all know that the Wilcox/DeRuyter/Sirmon scheme funnels tackles to the ILB. Having our veteran ILB be behind on tackles is worrying since it could indicate a defensive misadjustment to the UCLA offense. 

Outlook to Oregon State:

Oregon State ranked 74th overall, 58th on offense, and 80th on defense. Similar statistical profile to UCLA. 

Oregon State's offense depends on Jermar Jefferson's rushing performance. Considering the loss of Aaron Maldonado, and Stanley McKenzie's questionable status, and JH Tevis growing into his role, the burden will lie on Deng, Tattersall, and Crotaux to stop him. 

In the case of the defense, Cal has to avoid Hamilcar Rashed Jr., and like with Hamilcar Barca, Cal's offense has to find inspiration in the Roman Republic tactics and adapt or die on offense. (Fun fact: Romans are known for adapting the opponent's tactics and equipment. They reverse-engineered it after some crashed Carthaginian ships and turned them against Hamilcar and Hannibal a generation later). Cal's struggles in containing the TFLs from Osa Odighizuwa from the DE spot could come back again this Saturday if the OL continues to struggle in run blocking. So learning from the mistakes of the UCLA game and adapting to how Hamilcar can wreck the game will be key to winning the game.

As the season goes along, I promise to find more data for more analysis, but this is it for now!