clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Inside the Numbers: Texas vs. Cal

New, 9 comments

Texas makes the final mistake in a wild, evenly matched effort against Cal, dropping the 45-44 contest to move to 1-2 on the season.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

20-31, 364 (11.7), 0-1: Jerrod Heard completions-attempts, passing yards (yards per attempt), passing TDs-INTs

24-163 (6.8) - 3: Jerrod Heard rushes-rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs

While Wescott has already detailed much of Jerrod Heard's record setting performance, it's worth repeating just how significant the performance was. For all of the great quarterbacks that have played for Texas, Jerrod Heard holds the single game yardage record in just his second start. Not every game will be a record setting performance (probably), but it's certainly an excellent start for an already confident player.

Moving forward, play caller Jay Norvell will need to continue getting creative with the running backs and wide receivers to find production on the ground, as 24 carries is a little high for a 200 lb. quarterback. But aside from the carry count, there was little at fault with Norvell's second game at play caller. He was able to get the best production of the season from the stable of running backs, and the passing game was well schemed at executed. Cal's inability to pass off receivers' combination routes left several open opportunities for Heard to capitalize on.

6 - 13 (46.2): Texas third down conversions - attempts (percentage)

5 - 5 (4, 1): Texas red zone conversions - attempts (TDs, FGs)

Two of my favorite indicators of quarterback performance are third down conversion rate and red zone effectiveness. And while the third down conversions were below the 50% mark, several of the failed third down conversions were a result of holding or personal foul penalties that set Texas too far behind the chains. Heard's legs are frequently an equalizer when plays break down (one conversion being an 11 yard rush by Heard on 3rd and 10), but some of Texas's biggest explosive plays came on long third down completions (a 45 yard pass to Daje Johnson on 3rd and 20, a 54 yard pass to Daje Johnson on 3rd and 7, a 13 yard pass to Alex De La Torre on 3rd and 7).

Of particular importance was Texas's success in the red zone. In five opportunities, the Horns scored 4 touchdowns and a field goal. The successes were equal parts clever gameplanning and execution (the Gray TDs out of a split back set with Warren executing a kick out block were beautiful football) and Jerrod Heard wizardry (the first Heard TD was impressive in escapability, but the second TD winding across the field and back is something you just cannot scheme).

9 - 47 (5.2) - 1: D'Onta Foreman rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs

11 - 46 (4.2) - 2: Johnathan Gray rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs

5 - 24 (4.8): Chris Warren rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry)

If the Cal game was any indicator, then the Texas running back position will be by committee in 2015. Facing favorable numbers against a Cal defense that wasn't particularly threatened by the Texas run game, the developing Texas OL was able to work within the confines of Texas's tempo and Heard's passing ability to create some production. While no particular back stood out on the ground, the trio combined for 117 yards on 25 carries (4.7 a carry). Foreman had some key moments late as part of the Texas rally, including the 27 yard TD to bring the game within seven. Gray, while productive on the ground, did most of his damage in the air.

5 - 145: Daje Johnson receptions - receiving yards

4 - 70: Armanti Foreman receptions - receiving yards

4 - 65: John Burt receptions - receiving yards

4 - 71: Johnathan Gray receptions - receiving yards

The starting trio of receivers of Johnson, Foreman, and Burt, and Gray slipping out of the backfield and lining up wide in 5 man sets, provided tons of big play potential Saturday. The foursome notched 351 of Heard's 364 yards passing at over 20 yards per reception. They displayed plenty of traits you want to see in pass catchers: they found open spaces in the zone, were reliable receivers (aside form Johnson's two late drops as Texas worked to come back), fought back against defenders on underthrows, and did plenty of damage after the catch.

9: Malik Jefferson total tackles

9 - 1: Kevin Vaccaro total tackles - forced fumbles

Malik Jefferson, leading the team in tackles, ho-hum.

Following the struggles against Notre Dame, I pondered whether moving Kris Boyd to back-up Dylan Haines at safety would be a good move for the defense due to my doubts about Kevin Vaccaro's abilities. Against Cal, I could not have been more wrong. After Dylan Haines' early dismissal for targeting, Vaccaro stepped right in and immediately contributed solo tackles and a major forced fumble in the red zone. He was steady filling in run support and proved his value to this team. Well done, Kevin.

27-37, 268 (7.2), 3-0: Cal QB Jared Goff completions-attempts (YPA), TDs-INTs

41 - 280 (6.8) - 3: Cal rush attempts - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs

5-13, 2-2: Cal offense third down conversions-attempts, fourth down conversions-attempts

6-7 (5, 1): Cal offense red zone conversions-attempts (TDs, INTs)

Oh boy....where to begin. As a whole, the Cal offense ran 78 plays for 548 yards (7.0 yards per play) and accumulated 45 points. The tough-to-stomach outting actually benefitted significantly from a surprising (or not so surprising) mashing on the ground. Cal Jr. RB Khalfani Muhammad was particularly devastating, whose 10 carries went for 164 yards and the 74 yard TD that extended the Cal lead to 45-24.

Cal QB Jared Goff, widely considered a highly rated NFL draft prospect as a junior, was actually quite pedestrian against Texas, his 7.2 yards per attempt on 37 attempts weren't the biggest damage dealers. Despite Texas's massive struggles on third down to start the year, Cal only managed five conversions on 13 attempts. Where Goff did his most damage was in the red zone, leading the Bears on 5 touchdowns and a field goal in 7 attempts. His accuracy and quick release, paired with some impressive snags by his large receiving corps, did enough to undo the Horns' upset bid.

The most disappointing aspect of the Texas defensive performance was the 31 unanswered points scored by Cal over a 15 minute period spanning the end of the second quarter through the end of the third quarter that created the nearly insurmountable lead. Facing a 24-14 deficit, the Cal offense went 75 yards and a TD in 4 plays and 40 seconds with a 49 yard rush by Muhammad and a 22 yard pass by Goff. Then, following an ill-advised Jerrod Heard interception, Cal managed a field goal before the end of the half to tie the game at 24.

Cal began the second half by forcing a Jerrod Heard fumble, and the Texas defense failed to respond, giving up a 9 play 42 yard TD drive. In their next drive, Cal capitalized on a questionable Malik Jefferson personal foul that negated a failed 3rd conversion to score another TD. The very next Cal drive was a 2 play 92 yard demolishing TD by RB Muhammad that drove the Cal lead to 45-24.

At this point, the Texas defense needs to embrace the team's offseason mantra of 'No More Excuses'. At some point, the Texas defense cannot allow 31 consecutive points in 15 minutes of gametime. It has to improve.