Evans Hall - Cal Football Stats & Analysis: A Normal Cal-Washington State Game Does Not Exist
Mathematically Cal had the game in hand; In reality it was anything but.
Perfectly normal distribution of win probability for a team that at times lead by 14 points.
I have seen penny stocks have lower volatility than this chart. Technically Cal never had less than a 50% chance of winning the game but as anyone watching can tell you: it was anything but, especially as WSU was gaining momentum on offense with the Cal offense stalling.
Cal was outgained by 92 yards, Mendoza only attempted 6 passes to Ward’s 35, Cal had 50 more penalty yards on 5 more penalties. We failed to convert a single of our four 3rd downs, and were on the field for 7 fewer minutes than WSU. Hell, we even lost a fumble more than WSU.
Final score for the half: 18-14, WSU.
Any person with enough experience watching football and an understanding of the statistics above would’ve told you that a half like that is an asswhooping. And yet by the grace of an unreviewed fumble TD return for Nohl Williams, a pair of missed WSU field goals, and general Cal-WSU chaos; Cal won.
I will miss this, even if my cardiologist is out there begging Cal to never schedule Cal vs. WSU, or Cal vs. SC, or Cal vs. OSU, or Cal vs. UCLA, or Cal vs. Stanford… wait I am sensing a pattern.
Wooo! By the grace of 6 sacks, 2 defensive touchdowns, and 1 INT we have Cal’s second best defensive performance by PPA.
How is that possible? Well that’s how averages work, defensive TDs and sacks have a huge impact on the mean, this is why it is important to see outliers when analyzing summary statistics.
See here WSU had a smattering of bad passing plays that is pulling down their average down.
The passing game under Fernando and the offense had their most forgettable game vis a vis the performance of the opposing defense. Especially on 3rd downs we only converted 2 of the 6 passing 3rd downs (not counting the 3rd and forever) and both by the skin of our bear paws.
The rushing game was floated by 3 big runs and otherwise remained forgettable.
Outside of the turnovers, Cal had a poor showing in the passing game on early downs especially on 2nd and < 10 where WSU gained whatever they wanted.
Which all adds up to one of the worst 1st and 2nd down defenses in the country on a per play basis. A lot of it is weighed by the fact that Cal played:
With Cam Ward coming in 40th on QBR rankings. But as we seen against Ward the defense isn’t entirely the victim of opponents but also contributed to their own failures.