|First Downs: Total||239||298|
|First Downs: Rushing – Passing – By Penalty||102 – 112 – 25||114 – 147 – 37|
|Rushing: Yards / Attempt||4.87||4.26|
|Rushing: Attempts – Yards – TD||451 – 2196 – 18||477 – 2032 – 18|
|Total Offense: Yards / Play||5.75||5.66|
|Total Offense: Plays – Yards||817 – 4695||935 – 5295|
|Time of Possession / Game||27:48.92||32:11.08|
|3rd Down Conversions: Conversion %||34.78%||45.3%|
|Red Zone: Success %||78.95%||80.7%|
|First Downs: Total||289||275|
|First Downs: Rushing – Passing – By Penalty||161 – 111 – 17||97 – 158 – 20|
|Rushing: Yards / Attempt||4.93||3.77|
|Rushing: Attempts – Yards – TD||595 – 2932 – 31||440 – 1659 – 16|
|Passing: Attempts – Completions – Interceptions – TD||369 – 231 – 7 – 14||497 – 289 – 13 – 18|
|Total Offense: Yards / Play||5.32||5.25|
|Total Offense: Plays – Yards||964 – 5130||937 – 4916|
|Time of Possession / Game||30:14.77||29:45.23|
|3rd Down Conversions: Conversion %||45.92%||40.64%|
|Red Zone: Success %||87.72%||79.59%|
Let’s take a look at a few key statistics from 2012 Cal vs 2012 NWU:
Northwestern is a running team. About 2/3 of their plays and touchdowns come from rushing plays. NWU has both their starting and backup RBs returning along with 4/5 of their offensive line. That’s pretty daunting considering the numbers they were able to put up on the ground. This means Cal’s front seven will have a very tough Saturday ahead of them. However, with our new 4-3 defense and returning players on the DLine, ideally, we should be able to hit every gap every play. If our defense is to succeed our defensive line must out play NWU’s veteran line. Cal is definitely the underdog in this area of competition but we have the talent and potential to pull it off.
Northwestern has a solid secondary, holding opposing quarterbacks to 119.92 rating which was around Cal’s QB rating last year (so you know NWU has held down other QBs). However, they aren’t that great either. Last year they allowed 250.0 yards/game in the air, which ranks in the lower half of FBS teams. This will be a great opportunity for Cal’s new Bear Raid. Cal will need to get off to a fast fast fast start against NWU to put them on their heals. In Goff We Trust?
For Cal’s secondary, they are facing a senior QB in Kain Colter. The good thing is that we shouldn’t expect anything new out of him and anything particularly amazing. His 121.37 QB rating ranked only 89/124 in the nation, while Cal last year was 92nd. No wonder they prefer the run. However, if when Colter steps back to pass, McCain will need to bring his A+ game to get behind that veteran OLine forcing Colter to make a bad decision and hopefully into the hands of our secondary.
NWU 87.72% Conversion ranked 19th in the nation last year. What does that mean for Cal? It means ANY 3 and Outs and Turnovers against Cal is VERY VERY BAD for our defense. They know how to utilize good field position and have shown the ability to capitalize on any opportunity. For Cal’s offense, it was quite a different story last season, ranking 83rd overall in redzone conversions. However, Dyke’s LaTech ranked 37th and it could have been higher if they had a better kicker. Whomever can get the stops in the Red Zone will win the game.