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Cal Football Recruiting

Rushing Yards, Coaching and Winning at the Line Cultivate a Winning Formula

November 30, 2018

With the 121st Big Game only hours away, Cal fans have had little to smile about the past eight contests. Not only have the Cardinal beat them on the gridiron by a combined score of 288-142, but they have also kicked their butt in recruiting as well.

Out of the past eight seasons, the Furd has had a better-recruiting class 5 times according to 247’s recruiting class, and Stanford has landed a total of five 5-Star players and sixty 4-Star players compared to Cal’s two 5-Star players and 36 4-Star players.  Cal is finishing with the 36th best class during that time compared to Stanford's 21st rated class.

Talent wins football games. If you have bigger, stronger, faster guys in the game of football, of course, you have the better chance of winning. However, coaching plays a big part in that as well.

Coach David Shaw has done a great job of finding the identity of his football team since taking over for Jim Harbough. That being a tough, hit you in the mouth, dominate the line of scrimmage football team and that has translated into a lot of success. Over the last seven years, Shaw has a combined coaching record of 73-22 and a bowl record of 4-3.

Compare that to Cal’s style of spread you out, pass the ball all over the field, and play zero  defense. Cal’s combined record from 2010-2017 is 39-59 with a bowl record of 1-1.

Stanford has found winning success in dominating the line of scrimmage and wearing out the opposing team, just like they have done to Cal. In the last eight games against Cal, Stanford has run for a total of 1832 yards on 310 carries averaging 5.9 YPC. Compared to Cal which has rushed for 792 yards on 232 carries averaging 3.19 YPC. 

Individual game stats are below:


2010 Cal 14 Stanford 48

Rushing stats

Stanford: 48 carries 232 and four touchdowns Cal: 28 rushes for 109 yards and 0 touchdowns


2011 Cal 28 Stanford 31

Rushing stats

Stanford 36 rushes 148 2 touchdowns Cal: 34 rushes 85 yards one touchdowns


2012 Cal 3 Stanford 21

Rushing Stats

Stanford: 46 carries 252 yards 1 touchdown Cal: 28 carries for 3 yards 0 touchdowns


2013 Cal 13 Stanford 63

Rushing Stats

Stanford: 25 carries 186 3 touchdowns Cal: 31 carries  73 yards 0 touchdowns 


2014  Cal 17 Stanford 28

Rushing Stats

Stanford: 47 carries 204 yards 5 touchdowns Cal: 36 carries 179 one touchdown


2015 Cal 22 Stanford 35

Rushing Stats

Stanford: 40 carries 260 yards 3 touchdowns Cal: 23 carries 98 yards


2016 Cal 31 Stanford 45

Stanford: 50 carries 357 yards 4 touchdowns Cal: 24 carries 90 yards 2 touchdowns


2017 Cal 14 Stanford 17

Rushing Stats

Stanford: 38 carries 193 one touchdown Cal: 28 carries 155 one touchdown

Cal’s old style of passing the ball all over the field and playing little to no defense has resulted into that ^. Yes, that was not a fun stat to be reading Cal fans.

However, with the change of identity that head coach Justin Wilcox has brought to the Bears it seems like Cal is starting to impose its will at the line of scrimmage, and thus stumbling into a winning formula.

The 128th big game comes down to a battle of the trenches, and whoever wins that will get the ax.2018 Bears defense ranks in at the 16th best total defense in the country compared to Stanford, who ranks 86th in total defense. Conversely, Cal’s rushing attack ranks 71st and is averaging 161 YPG compared to the Cardinals 122nd rushing attacking averaging  110 YPG.

Time will tell if Cal has really found the winning formula, but for now it’s time to stop the losing streak and take back the ax!


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