Cal Football 2007 In Numbers: 4th Down

Posted by: Avinash on Monday, March 10th, 2008


4th Down Offense
T6 ASU 13/19
T14 Oregon St. 9/14
T30 USC 10/17
76 Cal 5/10
T81 Stanford 8/18
T81 Washington 8/18
T87 Oregon 6/14
112 UCLA 4/13
114 Wazzu 7/24
116 Arizona 5/19

4th Down Defense
T-7 Stanford 5/17
UCLA 5/17
T-9 Oregon St. 6/20
T-21 ASU 6/16
T-40 Oregon 9/21
T-43 USC 7/16
T-49 Arizona 6/13
87 Wazzu 10/18
102 Washington 11/18
109 Cal 13/20

Looking at these statlines is sickening to a Cal fan. Cal was LAST in the Pac-10 in 4th down defense, and risk averse with strong offensive talent (only 11 attempts overall, which means plenty of 4th and short attempts were shirked). Admittedly, we don’t know for sure how many solid opportunities Cal had on 4th down situation, but to see how low we are at at attempts in our own division is a bit disturbing.

Again, we go game by game.

Cal v. TN
0/0 for Cal
0/1 for TN (on a goalline stand at 4th and goal at the 1, TN down 38-21)

Cal v. CSU
0/0 for Cal
0/1 for CSU (on a 4th and 9 at Cal’s 31, CSU down 27-14)

La Tech vs. Cal
1/2 for Cal (4th and 1 succeeded, led to missed field goal, score still 7-0; failed on a 4th and 5 at Tech 36, score 42-12)
1/1 for Tech (4th and 5 succeeded on a left side pass, led to blocked field goal that kept score at 28-6)

Arizona vs Cal
0/0 for Cal
1/3 for Arizona (4th and 3 failed, led to field goal for Cal, 31-10; 4th and 1 succeeded on a rush over right tackle, led to TD that made the score 38-24; 4th and 14 failed, led to end of game)

Cal vs. Oregon
Neither team went for it on 4th down

Oregon St. vs Cal
1/2 for Cal (4th and goal failed at OSU 1, leads to punt for OSU; 4th and 17 succeeded to Hawkins at Cal 36 on final drive)
2/2 for OSU (4th and goal at Cal 1 succeeded for TD, 7-0 OSU; 4th and goal at Cal 1 succeeded for TD, 28-21 OSU)

Cal vs UCLA
0/1 for Cal (4th and 10, INT by Keyes with Cal down 30-21)
1/1 for UCLA (4th and 2 succeeds, Cal down 30-21, leads to end of game)

Cal vs ASU
0/0 for Cal
2/2 for ASU (Two 4th and 1s on the same drive, one 11 yard rush by Nance, one substitution infraction penalty which doesn’t count on the official tally, both lead to a TD rush and cutting Cal’s lead to 20-14; 4th and 1 at the Cal 8 converted into a TD rush to give ASU a 21-20 lead)

Wazzu vs Cal
1/1 for Cal (4th and 2 converted at Wazzu 37 on a 9 yard Longshore throw to Hawkins, turned into Kay FG and 10-0 lead)
2/2 for Wazzu (4th and 4 at Cal 31, converted by 5 yard Brink throw, leading to field goal to cut lead to 10-3; 4th and 6 at Cal 29, converted on an 11 yard Brink throw, leading to TD that cuts score to 20-17)

USC vs Cal
Neither side went for it on 4th down.

Cal vs UW
Cal 1/2 (4th and 1 on UW 46, Forsett 13 yard rush that led to TD that tied score at 14; 4th and 22 on UW 45, Longshore incomplete, led to end of game)
UW 0/1 (4th and 1 at Cal 36, rush for no gain, led to a punt possession)

The Big Game
Cal 1/1 (4th and 6, Longshore pass complete to Hawkins for 10 yards to Stanford 19, led to INT with Cal down 20-13)
Stanford 0/0

Armed Forces Bowl
AF 4/5 (4th and 1 at AF 44, 2 yard rush for Ollis, led to Air Force TD and 14-0 lead; 4th and 2 at Cal 47, 3 yard rush for Ollis, led to Air Force TD and 27-21 lead; 4th and 3 at AF 44, 7 yard rush for Hall and 15 yard penalty, led to FG and cutting Cal lead to 35-30; 4th and 9 at Cal 34, incomplete pass; 4th and 13 converted on an incomplete pass by Smith, leads to TD and cuts Cal lead to 42-36)
Cal 0/1 (4th and 16 at AF 35, Longshore incomplete pass; led to TD at other end)

We see Cal went for it on fourth down four times in essential “go for it” situations (the last gasp against Oregon St.), two against Louisiana Tech in our easiest win, so that leaves Cal with only three daring fourth down attempts. There was the Forsett stuff against Oregon State, a play-call I still like (the Beavers just played better defense), the Forsett rush with the Huskies up a score and a Longshore throw during a long drive against Wazzu.

We can infer two things from this.

If the former is true, then Cal can be excused for only attempting 10 4th down conversions all season. If it’s the latter, then perhaps we can understand part of the offensive turgidity that ran through Cal in the second half of the season. And we haven’t even mentioned the defense. To be continued.

What are your thoughts on the 4th down playcalling this year for Cal, and playcalling that’s occurred against us? Leave thoughts in the comments.

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