Do you 'spose you could look at any game's box score and figure out the final score?
Well, I can't reconcile the box score to Saturday's final result. Why? Because, most glaringly, two stats (maybe three) stand out. That's the set up, here are the trick questions...
Which team had the better pass completion percentage?
Which team had the higher yards per run average?
Which team had more penalties?
Yes, UCLA was the better passing team 11-21 vs. 11-24. And we had 4.6 yards per run vs 4.3. Penalties were tied at 5 each though statistically we were assessed fewer yards on those 5 penalties.
Also, they only had 130 or more yards in total offense than we did. So how in the (fill-in-the-blank) do these stats result in 35 points for one team and none for the other?
Right, turnovers. I haven't mentioned the turnovers. That category was dominated by UCLA, 2 fumbles lost and 2 interceptions, Stanford none(of either). However, to be fair one INT was basically a punt, and a rather good one at that. The Prince INT at the goal line was a third down and 20 or so play. So, lets say it went incomplete, what next? Ball at the 34, add 17 for a FG attempt and we don't have a very good shot given Forbath's lingering injury situation. OK, we tried one from 50, but those are not chip shots and the strain needed to hit from that distance could aggrevate what was left of the groin problem. And we certainly are not going for it on 4th and 20. The other INT was so late in the game that it was meaningless as to the win/loss.
The worst of the TO's was the take away from Prince by a headsup DB resulting in 7 points.
OK, so where did it all go wrong? Why did we not even get 3 points on the board? I can only conclude that we had some very bad luck in that some of our penalties and dropped passes absolutely killed some encouraging drives (what was it ... Franklin run, Jones run, Harkey drop).
The other possibility is what has been said quite a bit here, we didn't run enough. Think about the stats again. Think about the percentage of runs vs passes for both teams. We were at about 60% whereas Stanford ran 67%. Actually that doesn't sound like a major difference, but somehow the success at running, and running it more, translated into the difference between a sustained drive and a failed drive. Points versus no points.
Can it be concluded that until our passing game gets back to where it was last year, we should run more? Should Bell( the real running threat QB) be utilized even though his playbook is thin at this time? I don't know, I'm not a coach.
How 'bout the defense? Conditioning? Well ,they are certainly getting that on Saturdays. I know, not funny. But hey, Stanford had that Marecic(?) play both ways. That's possibly 120 plays but more likely around 100. That's a whole lot more than the 73 their offense ran off against us. There's one TV shot of one guy pukin' and our whole team is outta shape? Come on. I don't believe that, not even close. How do we even know he was pukin? Maybe he just gagged a bit and had to let it go. I tell ya, if that was me, I'd be embarressed to heave that little bit of spit and call it a puke. Face it, we are just not that good against the run. And obviously, the more plays the opposition gets to run (because of our lack of offense), the more points they are going to score.
By the way, did anyone notice any pass tackles by Rahim? Any breakups? I didn't. Maybe that's because they remember his stats from last year. I wonder if they even threw his way all game. Maybe some of those overthrows by Luck. Go Rahim.
By the way, I noticed many here were upset at the time-of-possession over the last two games. Here's another stat that can be misleading. The difference between the games was only a few minutes, and the total offensive plays by the opposing teams was 71(KSU) and 73(Stanford) but what stands out is that we ran off 9 fewer plays this past Saturday. Did we seem more gassed than at KSU? Should have been, but what do I know, I'm not a ...
One thing I do know. I know CRN and CNC know a whole more about this game, and this team, than I do and I am going to trust that they are making the best decisions regarding who plays, what plays are called and so forth.
Let me finish with the idea that what they see during practice is just not translating to game day and that they are as frustrated as we are, maybe more so because they see the boys day after day. Maybe they will start (out of necessity) to experiment with other personnel and find the potent combo. Maybe they will stay with the current lineup feeling that when these guys gel, they will turn some heads. I guess we'll see Saturday.