Game Nine - November 1, 2003
|Arizona State (4-5)||10||7||0||6||23|
For the third straight week, the Bears offensive and defensive units have dominated the opposition, putting to rest any concerns there might have been about playing with consistency and having strong efforts in consecutive weeks. Cal's offense had its strongest and best-balanced effort of the year, passing for more than 300 yards and running for more than 200 yards against a decent, if not stellar, Arizona State team. As the season has gone on, Cal's eliminated its early season problems - falling into early deficits, having the defense hang on for its life in fourth quarter, and getting burned repeatedly by big plays. Although it should be noted that Cal's in the middle of the softer part of its schedule and they aren't facing QBs who aren't nearly the multiple threats that KSU's Ell Roberson, Utah's Alex Smith, and Colorado State's Bradlee Van Pelt were. Next up for the Bears are a fast-fading Oregon team that looked abysmal against Washington on Saturday. The Ducks have had only one strong showing in their past five - and that was a rout of Stanford.
Note: In the first half, Cal's offense played just about the perfect game, passing for 249 yards and running for 152 yards enroute to a staggering 401 yards compared to ASU's 239. In the second half, with Cal toning things down a bit they still outgained ASU 143-114, even though the Sun Devils were frantically trying to get back in the game. While ASU matched Cal yard-for-yard in the first quarter and trailed only 14-10, the Sun Devil offense struggled considerably during the final three quarters. In the second and third quarters, Andrew Walter struggled mightily as the Bear defense held him to 4-of-11 passing for 50 yards. Even though ASU moved the ball a little better with Sam Keller in the fourth quarter, the Bears managed to sack him four times.
Note: The Bears averaged large gains on all three downs; the Bears had struggled with their first down passing in several games recently, but they solved it against ASU, going 11-of-12 for 239 yards, five first downs and a touchdown. Remarkably, in the first half, Cal had 21 first-down situations and only faced third down on four occassions - including a string of 14 first-down plays where they didn't face any third down plays. Cal had seven plays of longer than 25 yards, Arizona State had two; both of which came in the first quarter.
|Aaron Rodgers, CAL||40.0||25||10||25||310||12.4||23||17||73.9||307||7||3||0||1||6||1||-3|
|Andrew Walter, ASU||32.0||25||8||25||158||6.3||23||11||47.8||170||7||1||2||2||-12||--||--|
|Sam Keller, ASU||28.6||14||4||14||64||4.5||10||6||60.0||83||4||1||0||4||-21||--||--|
|Game Note: Rodgers had one of the best halves in Cal history, going 11-of-15 for 246 yards and three touchdowns. The Bears were successful in finding holes in the ASU secondary as the Bears had six completions of 25 or more yards. Cal's pass blocking held up well as Rodgers was only sacked once and was only forced to scramble on one other time.|
|Note: The Success Percentage attempts to measure a QB's effectiveness 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, TP - pass attempts + sacks + scrambles, FD - first downs, TD - touchdowns, Yds - Yards, Avg - Average, Att. - Attempts, Comp. - Completions, Pct. - Completion %, Int - Interceptions, Pl. - Plays)|
Field Position Advantage
|Pos.||Avg.||Yd. Dif.||Pos.||Avg.||Yd. Dif.||Pos.||Avg.||Yd. Dif.|
|Note: Starting field position was virtually a wash - with the Bears enjoying a slight field position advantage. For its first four possessions, Cal started at its 20-yard line and scored TDs on three of them. In the first half they had two possessions which began at ASU's 30- and 36-yard line and scored field goals each time. ASU never had very good field position because they were often getting the ball following kickoff returns and their kick return unit wasn't particularly dangerous. Late in the game, they had one possession that started on the Cal 6 following a fumble - but promptly turned the ball over on downs.|
|Explanation: Defense and special team TDs are counted as a +100. If the player had been pushed out of bounds at the opponent's 1-yard line, the team would be credited with a +99. It makes more sense to credit the team with a +100 rather than disregard the number because the offense doesn't have to take the field.|
Scoring Success Inside 30
|Note: For the second consecutive week, the Bears scored on all of their possessions inside the opponents' 30-yard line. Of Cal's 5 TDs, they scored three via the run and two via the pass. One of the game's key plays was Donnie McCleskey's interception in the endzone after Arizona State had driven 47 yards and was threatening to score first. Following the interception, Rodgers completed a 37-yard pass to Toler and a 43-yard TD pass to McArthur. The Bears were successful on all eight of their kicks - all five PATs and all three field goals. The only quibble that one could find with the kicking game is that one kickoff went out of bounds - but Cal had to kickoff 10 times against the Sun Devils.|
|Explanation: 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 opponents' 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 six possessions inside the 30 would have a 100% Score% (6/6) but a MaxPts% of 42.9% (18/42).|
Passes to Cal Receivers
|Note: More than 40% of Rodgers' pass attempts went to RBs and TEs which is probably a season high. Twelve of his passes went to WRs, six went to TEs, and four went to RBs and one had an unknown recipient. McArthur had three receptions that were longer than 40 yards - 52, 47, and 43 yards. Incompletion breakdowns are unavailable for the Cal-ASU game.|
|CAL OFFENSE||ASU DEFENSE|
|5||False Start||15||Pass Interference|
|CAL DEFENSE||ASU OFFENSE|
|15||Roughing the Passer|
|CAL SPECIAL TEAMS||ASU SPECIAL TEAMS|
|15||Personal Foul||15||Roughing the kicker|
|Note: Although the Bears came into the game as the conference's least penalized team, they accrued 75 yards of penalties - including 45 on penalties of aggression (personal foul + roughing the passer). There was also one case of offsetting personal fouls which could have meant 15 more yards.|
|Running Back Analysis|
|Note: Echemandu had 96 yards at halftime; towards the end of the third quarter with the Bears up by 31 and Arizona State posing no imminent threat, Cal toned down its offense. In the fourth quarter, the Bears went extensively with reserves as neither Echemandu or Arrington carried the ball in the fourth quarter. Much of Echemandu's yardage game on a 48-yard run in the first quarter.|
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