A Statistical Look & Preview: Colorado Buffaloes vs California Golden Bears

Ready for the most worthless chart of the year so far? Here you go. I do have to say, it is nice to throw that Pac-10 logo up there.

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Edge Actual Conf National Category National Conf Actual
Rank Rank Rank Rank
OFFENSE
Cal 115 9 79 Rushing Offense 28 4 230
Cal 192 9 74 Passing Offense 24 5 287
Cal 150.91 4 43 Passing Efficiency 12 3 192.86
Cal 307 10 88 Total Offense 22 6 517
Cal 24 9 71 Scoring Offense T-10 3 52
Cal 2 6 T-63 Sacks Allowed T-1 1 0
DEFENSE
Cal 49 2 13 Rushing Defense 3 1 14
Cal 196 8 58 Pass Defense 6 2 67
Cal 104.41 7 41 Pass Efficiency Defense 6 2 56.25
Cal 245 4 31 Total Defense 1 1 81
Even 3 1 T-11 Scoring Defense 11 3 3
Colorado 3 1 T-16 Sacks T-36 4 2
Colorado 8 4 20 Tackles For Loss T-75 7 4
SPECIAL TEAMS
Cal 35.14 7 66 Net Punting 24 4 41.33
Cal 11.5 3 29 Punt Returns 13 3 18.33
Colorado 34 2 7 Kickoff Returns 101 8 10.5
TURNOVER MARGIN
Colorado 2 2 T-7 Turnover Margin T-44 5 0

 

So, yes, Cal played FCS UC-Davis last week so these stats are very much skewed. Another reason for the skewed offensive numbers: Colorado ran only 60 plays from scrimmage against CSU. On the flip side, California snapped the ball 75 times. Consider that when evaluating the offensive numbers. It will be interesting the see if CU speeds things up this week against Cal or if they prefer not to get into a play for play shootout with the Bears on the road. 

A few things stick out that I always like to see the Buffs make some progress on: tackles for loss, sacks and turnover margin. Colorado's 8 tackles for loss last weekend against Colorado State was impressive. Even more eye opening was holding the Rams to 49 yards rushing when clearly that was supposed to be a strength of the team. Reading the great Cal site on SBNation.com, California Golden Blogs, they are slightly concerned about the offensive and defensive lines. For one, they feel the Bears should have sacked UC-Davis more than two times and second, they believe their running game with RB Shane Vereen should have had more big plays against an inferior opponent.

Also, CGB has made it clear that one way to slow down the Cal offense from years past is to hit QB Kevin Riley early and often. They feel when he is pressured, he has a tendency to lose his composure. So once again we go back to the matchup of the game: Jalil Brown/Jimmy Smith vs. Marvin Jones/Keenan Allen. If the two Buff corners can defend on the perimeter and allow aggressive play from the front seven, I like the Buffs chances to hang in the game.

Players you need to know from Cal after the jump...

Source: Cal Sports Information Department

Cal has its leading rusher, receiver, passer and tackler from 2009 all back in 2010 in Shane Vereen, Marvin Jones, Kevin Riley and Mike Mohamed. After Jahvid Best suffered a season-ending injury against Oregon State, Vereen became the team's primary ball carrier over the final four games of 2009 and rushed for 566 yards and six touchdowns on 108 carries during that stretch, averaging 141.5 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry.

Jones paced the club in receptions (43), receiving yards (651) and receiving touchdowns (6). He had at least one reception in all 13 games and ended the campaign with four receptions or more in each of the final four contests, including career highs of six receptions and 107 receiving yards at Washington in the regular-season finale.

Riley completed 209 of 382 passes (54.7%) for a career-high 2,850 yards, which ranks as the fourth-best single season in school history. He finished fourth in the Pac-10 in passing average (219.2 ypg) and passing touchdowns (18), as well as sixth in pass efficiency (128.7) and total offense (223.2 ypg).

Mohamed was a first-team All-Pac-10 and postseason Phil Steele All-Pac-10 first-team selection after leading the conference with 112 tackles, 16 more than the 96 posted by USC's Taylor Mays. The quartet is part of a total of 19 players returning that started at least five games and 54 letterwinners that return in 2010.

Most you probably heard about this guy though, WR Keenan Allen. The true freshman wide receiver made one of the most memorable debuts in Cal football history. Allen caught four passes for 120 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown reception. Allen also had three rushes for 38 yards, including one on an option in which he reversed field and went 18 yards for a score after the play had broken down, as well as another on a 17-yarder that was ruled a lateral. He added one kick return for 18 yards.

WR Marvin Jones added 5 receptions for 81 yards and a score. RB Shane Vereen ran the ball 14 times for 67 yards, good for a 4.8 ypc average. Overall, the Bears attempted 47 rushes for 230 yards, good for a 4.9 ypc average, something Bears fans believe should have been better. QB Kevin Riley was 14-20 for 258 yards and three touchdowns. Riley was efficent in just over a half of action against UC Davis.

Last week on defense, Cal allowed only 81 total yards of offense (14 rushing, 67 passing) in the debut of first-year defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. The Aggies managed only four first downs and averaged just 1.8 yards on 45 plays. The Bears surrendered a first down to UC Davis on the first play of the game, then didn't give up another one until the Aggies' first drive of the third quarter.

Cal will be tough to beat at home where they are 34-6 over the last 40 contests.

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