Believe me I am ready to put that miserable showing out of my brain for good and move on to this weekends game against Texas. Sitting in that half empty Rose Bowl I could not believe what I was seeing and to a certain extent I still can't believe the way we played especially on defense against a team that seemed to move the ball at will. I remember thinking to myself if Stanford crushed these guys 57-3 what are they going to do against us on Oct 1? After cooling off at the conclusion of the game I decided to do a little research to take away something, anything positive from the disturbing debacle I had just witnessed. Here is what I discovered:
First off that 57-3 final between Stanford and San Jose might have been the most misleading box score of week 1. It looks impressive at first until you dig a little bit deeper. Consider first that the Spartans fumbled the ball 6 times of which they lost 3 of them . On offense Stanford gained only 373 total yards, well below their offensive numbers from last year when they only failed to gain under 400 yards of total offense 1 time. Our offense in comparison gained 417 yards of offense playing rather poorly and vanilla at times. Perhaps even more shocking is that Stanford rushed 40 times for only 141 net yards. That is a YPC of 3.5 against a San Jose State defense that was #117 in total defense last year and #104 in rush defense. Mind you this is a Stanford team with a good offensive line and penchant for playing smash mouth football under Harbaugh the previous year. Our Bruins on the other hand rushed 42 times for 272 yards at 6.5 YPC. So against the Spartans, the UCLA offense rushed the same amount of times and doubled both total yardage and YPC output. To me this is a positive. Cynics are going to say so what it was SJSU, we should destroy them like that on the ground. Fair enough but Stanford was not that successful rushing the same amount of times and with a better offensive line. Again I see this as a positive.
On defense we gave up 317 total yards to SJSU while Stanford gave up 237. Fairly even when you look at it at first glance, but concerning for us Bruin fans is the fact that SJSU did huge damage on the ground. Against Stanford SJSU rushed 32 times for 27 total rushing yards. That is a pathetic 0.8 YPC. Against UCLA however they rushed 29 times for 209 yards. That is a YPC of 7.0. This is totally unacceptable for the talent level we supposedly put on the field on that side of the ball.
Again to me a real positive is fact that we had the same number of rushes against SJSU that Stanford did only we doubled both total yards and YPC. And we did this with a reshuffled offensive line including the return of Jeff Baca and Greg Cappella playing for Sticky Icky Maivia.
But that defense...oh man that defense. They need to figure it out quickly and be the unit we all expected them to be. They have been the biggest disappointment so far in this early season. That is the thing to remember though. It is still early in the season and stats and final scores can be very misleading such as the 57-3 final from week 1 between Stanford and SJSU. It is great that this blog has a clearly defined "eye test" criteria for judging/assesing the teams performance because they certainly failed in that regard on Saturday, even if some of the offensive stats don't reflect that.
Here is hoping they make improvement this Saturday against Texas both in the stat sheet and in our eyes.