Fun With Numbers - Cal vs. Southern Mississippi

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

<p class=txt>After the first quarter, the 33,000 fans who'd come to celebrate True Blue had reason to worry - a blown punt snap resulted in a safety, the Bears had 3 attempts at 2nd-and-goal from the Southern Miss 1-yard line and couldn't score, and the offense had all of 19 yards and the team was trailing 2-0. Three quarters and 34 points later, everything was back to normal in the Land of Tedford.

Game Two - August 30, 2003

  1 2 3 4 T
Southern Mississippi (0-1) 2 0 0 0 2
California (1-1) 0 20 7 7 34

Welcome to the first report of the 2003 football edition of Fun With Numbers.  This was actually supposed to be the 2nd report of the season, but a combination of attending a couple of races in Bristol, Tennessee and a badly wrecked sleep schedule put the viewing and compilation of the Cal-Kansas State game on hold for a few days.  But armed with notes and a tape of the game (courtesy of Cyberbear bearlyBreathing) there should be something available within the week.

The idea behind this is to help give a different understanding of what might have taken place during the most recent Cal game by looking at a different set of numbers then what one might see in the morning box score. The numbers here will vary a little bit from what you see in the box score, because here, sacks are counted in passing yardage instead of rushing yardage, and a meticulous set of game notes are compiled which will differ (usually a yard here and there) from the official play-by-play that's gathered in the press box.

This year it's easier to put the various charts into tables which is significantly more viewer-friendly than typing all of this into a post and separating everything with space bars. One chart that's not included this year that was included last year is penalties. As the year progreses and there's more data to work with, it's possible that this table may return.

During the season, the idea is to also include a midweek version that will look at one unique aspect of each of the Pac-10 team's effort during the previous week.

Against Southern Mississippi, Cal's defense staged a remarkable turnaround.  The Golden Eagles didn't cross the Cal 40-yard line until the last play of the first half, and the Bear defense allowed only two plays over 20 yards - as opposed to the nine that they gave up against Kansas State. The offensive line wore down the USM defense, rushing for 257 yards despite having only 39 yards at the half.

One of the more intriguing plays that came out of Cal head coach Jeff Tedford's bag of tricks took place early in third quarter. With a 2nd-and-10 on the Southern Miss 30, the Bears, for all the world, looked like they were running a middle screen, when the right side receiver starts running along the line of scrimmage back towards the middle of the field. The tight end, which 99% of the time in this formation and this play will look for someone to block to help spring the receiver, this time ran clear to the right side of the field.  The outside linebacker, who's conditioned to think "middle screen, middle screen, middle screen" steps inside and stays inside, letting the tight end by and seconds later Garrett Cross is all by his lonesome in the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown pass.  Just beautiful.

 

By Quarter

California Southern Mississippi
TOTAL RUN PASS TOTAL RUN PASS
No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg.
1 14 19 1.4 9 11 1.2 5 8 1.6 17 53 3.1 10 40 4.0 7 13 1.9
2 17 115 6.8 9 28 3.1 8 87 10.9 17 118 7.0 5 12 2.4 12 106 8.8
3 21 142 6.8 14 78 5.6 7 64 9.2 19 59 3.1 6 24 4.0 13 35 2.7
4 14 145 10.4 13 140 10.8 1 5 5.0 17 48 2.8 4 5 1.3 13 43 3.3
Tot 66 421 6.4 45 257 5.7 21 164 7.8 70 278 4.0 25 81 3.2 45 197 4.4

Notes:  Even though the Bears had trouble running the ball in the first half, they became increasingly proficient, both in total of yards and yards per carry with each succeeding quarter...The tandem of Arrington and Echemandu combined for 24 yards in the 1st quarter, 21 yards in the 2nd, 72 yards in the 3rd and 123 yards in the fourth...Echemandu's 60 yard run certainly bolstered Cal's fourth-quarter totals; even without it, the Bears total of 44 carries and 197 yards (4.5 avg.) are still terrific..If one discounts the 58 yards that USM gained in passing at the very end of 1st half, their yardage total for the 2nd quarter would have been 60 yards which would have been consistent with their output for the other three quarters.

 

By Down

DOWN CAL Southern Mississippi
TOTAL RUN PASS TOTAL RUN PASS
No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg.
1 29 182 6.3 22> 94 4.3 7 88> 12.6 29 128 4.4 10 51 5.1 19 77 4.1
2 23 175 7.6 15 108 7.2 8 67 8.4 23 108 4.7 9 33 3.7 14 75 5.4
3 12 77 6.4 6 68 11.3 6 9 1.5 16 56 3.5 6 -3 -0.5 10 59 5.9
4 2 -13 -6.5 2 -13 -6.5 -- -- -- 2 -12 -6.0 -- -- -- 2 -12 -6.0
Tot 66 421 6.4 45 257 5.7 21 164 7.8 70 278 4.0 25 81 3.2 45 197 4.4

Notes:  In the second half, Cal had 16 1st down plays, but only had to face four 3rd down situations....Southern Miss's 3rd down numbers are skewed by two long pass completions during their final possession. In their 12 prior possessions, the Golden Eagles managed 21 yards on 13 3rd down plays. Of their 8 pass plays, they were 3-of-4 for 41 yards and were sacked three times for -17 yards and had one scramble for no gain.

 

Quarterback Analysis

 

 

Succ. % TPL FD+TD TPL Yds. Avg. Att. Comp. Pct. Yds. FD TD Int. Sacks Scram
Pl. Yds. Pl. Yds.
Robertson, Cal 56.3% 16 9 16 150 9.3 14 9 64.3 142 7 2 0 1 -5 1 13
Rodgers, Cal 40.0% 5 2 5 14 2.8 4 2 50.0 15 2 0 0 1 -1 -- --
D'Angelo, USM 24.1% 29 7 29 154 5.3 25 16 64.0 171 7 0 1 4 -17 -- --
Almond, USM 26.7% 15 4 15 45 3.0 9 4 44.4 49 4 0 0 3 -20 3 16
Game note:  Southern Mississippi's 20-of-34 passing total looks respectable until one takes into consideration that 10 of their 44 passing plays (23%) never came to fruition because their QBs were either sacked or forced to scramble...Robertson's performance was terrific. Usually a QB success % of 40% to 45% is very good; most of Kyle Boller's games in 2002 were in the 35%-40% range.
General note:   The Success Percentage attempts to measure a QB's effectivess by looking at how often a quarterback achieves a successful result (a first down or touchdown) out of all pass plays attempted. Current QB rating methodology does not include either sacks or scrambles  - this rewards QBs taking sacks instead of throwing incompletions. In addition, QB rating formulas reward the eight-yard pass on 3rd-and-12 (i.e, it's a completion, it's not an interception, and there's an above average yardage gain).  Key: Succ.% - Touchdowns + First Downs/Total Plays, TPL - pass attempts + sacks + scrambles, FD - first downs gained by passing and scrambling, TD - touchdowns, Yds - Yards, Avg - Average, Att. - Attempts, Comp. - Completions, Pct. - Completion %, Int - Interceptions, Pl. - Plays)

 

Starting Field Position

  Total 1st Half

2nd Half

  Pos. Avg. Yd. Dif. Pos. Avg. Yd. Dif. Pos. Avg. Yd. Dif.
Cal 13 39.5 +136 7 54.4 +192 6 22.0  
USM 13 26.7   8 23.6   5 37.6 +56
Game Note: One of the big reasons of the Bears' success last year was the ability of the defense and special teams to give Cal significant advantages in starting field position. In the first half, Cal had an advantage of nearly 200 yards - with much of that coming on the punt block for a touchdown. The punt block is included as a +100. If the punt block had resulted in the ball going out of bounds at the USM 1, Cal's starting field position would have been credited with a +99. Giving Cal the extra yard makes more sense then ignoring the overall benefit of the play.

 

Scoring Success Inside Oponenet's 30

  Scores Chances % Pts. Max Pts. MaxPts% TD FG FGM TO Downs Time
Cal 4 6 66.7% 20 42 47.6% 2 2 0 0 1 1
USM 0 3 0.0% 0 21 0.0% 0 0 0 0 3 0
Game Note:  Cal's missed field goal came when they were on the USM 31 yard line and isn't included in this chart....When USM lost the ball on downs, they were on Cal's 26, 22, and 6.
Note: Many announcers will refer to how often a team scores inside the red zone - the opponents' 20-yard line. This seems like a soft standard to use. Once a team is on the opponent's 30-yard line, they would have a field goal in the 47- or 48-yard line range, which should be well within the range of most D-I kickers.  The Max Pts.% figures out how many points a team scores out of a maximum 7 points per possession inside the opponent's 30.   A team which scored six field goals out of a six possessions inside the 30 would have a 100% Score% (6/6) but a MaxPts% of 42.9% (18/42).

 

Passes to Cal Receivers

Incompletion Breakdown

Receiver Att. Comp. Yds.
Geoff McArthur 8 5 92 Broken Up 3
Burl Toler 3 2 17 Overthrown 2
Brandon Hall 3 2 13 Behind 1
Vincent Strang 2 1 5 Blocked near line of scrimmage 1
Garrett Cross 1 1 30
J.J. Arrington 1 0 0

 

Odds and Ends: The longest play Cal gave up was for 44 yards which was the the only Southern Miss play over 30 yards. Kansas State had 7 plays exceed 30 yards....There were 18 plays where either Cal or USM called running plays when they had two yards or less to go for first downs. Only 4 of the 18 went for 1st downs, all of those by Cal. Out of 7 such plays, USM had no gain on 4 plays and losses on 2.

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