Charting Connor Halliday's big performance at Cal

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Just how clinical was WSU's quarterback against the Golden Bears, as he threw for 521 yards? We turn the 67 throws into numbers and pictures to help you visualize.

Connor Halliday and the Wazzu offense had something of a coming out party in Memorial Coliseum, taking advantage of a young, injury riddled California Golden Bear defense to the tune of 570 yards.  Halliday went 41 of 67 (61.2%) for 521 yards, spreading the wealth between 8 receivers and 3 running backs.

Let's take a look at some breakdowns of how Halliday put this together.

QUARTER COMP ATT YARD
1 8 15 150
2 11 18 127
3 15 18 201
4 7 16 43
TOTAL 41 67 521

DISTRIBUTION
COMP ATT YARD YPT
X 5 10 116 11.60
H 7 10 58 5.80
F (RB) 10 13 152 11.69
Y 10 15 82 5.47
Z 9 19 113 5.95

DISTANCE DOWNFIELD
Yd COMP ATT YARD
< 5 20 25 204
5-15 18 31 183
> 15 3 11 134

On its surface, all the numbers look pretty solid.  The yard per target (YPT) rates are a little low for Z due to a poor completion rate, but other than that, nothing really stands out.  If we remove a 72-yard TD by Vince Mayle from the X data and a 68 yard TD by Marcus Mason from the F data, the overall numbers look a lot less pretty.  Stats for this game got a huge boost from a few big plays (I'm sure Mark will have a more detailed look in his WR breakdown later this week), and fortunately big plays are part of the game.

Aside from those few explosives, Halliday was a short-yardage surgeon on Saturday. We mapped out how he diced up the Cal defense, quarter by quarter.  The charts have four colors; red - completion, blue - incompletion, green - touchdown, black - interception.  The spots are placed where the receivers either caught the ball, or were when the pass was incomplete.  There weren't any throwaways. The numbers in the spots are their chronological order.  I didn't include data for pass interference, or other penalties that negated the play. In the table below I included the total yardage from the reception, and the routes.  These aren't the plays, just the routes they ran. I didn't try to parse out whether it was an option route, dig they broke off, flattened corner, or anything else like that.

"Vert - BS" is a back shoulder throw at a vertical route; "Mo." is motion; "PA" is play action; "Sc." is scramble

First Quarter:

Cal_q1_medium

DRIVE CHART # RESULT POS RECEIVER YARDS ROUTE
1 1 INC X D. Williams Vert
1 2 COMP Z Marks 13 Verts - BS
1 3 COMP Z K. Williams 2 Fly sweep
1 4 INC X Mayle Shallow cross
1 5 COMP Z Marks 27 Vert
1 6 INC H Bartolone Out
1 7 COMP Z Mayle 35 Vert
2 8 COMP H Galvin 17 Shallow cross
2 9 COMP F Mason 41 Mo. Swing
2 10 INC Z Marks Post
2 11 COMP X D. Williams 7 Out
2 12 COMP Y Ratliff 8 Curl
2 13 INC X Mayle Vert
3 14 INC Y Cracraft Corner
3 15 INC F Caldwell Swing

Second Quarter

Cal_q2_medium

DRIVE CHART # RESULT POS RECEIVER YARDS ROUTE
5 1 COMP X Mayle 4 PA - Screen
5 2 COMP H Bartolone 4 Sc. Out
5 3 COMP Y Ratliff 9 Out
5 4 INC Z Marks PA - Vert
5 5 COMP H Bartolone 6 Out
5 6 COMP Z K. Williams 10 Curl
5 7 COMP F Caldwell 7 PA - Swing
5 8 INC Z Marks Vert
5 9 INT Y Ratliff Curl
6 10 COMP Y Ratliff 12 Mesh - Cross
6 11 COMP Z K. Williams 2 Fly sweep
6 12 COMP F Caldwell 1 Swing
6 13 INC Y Ratliff Sluggo
7 14 INC F Caldwell Shoot
7 15 COMP Y Ratliff 4 Shallow cross
7 16 INC Z Marks Curl
8 17 INC Z Marks Hitch - Post
8 18 COMP F Mason 68 PA - Swing


Third Quarter

Cal_q3_medium

DRIVE CHART # RESULT POS RECEIVER YARDS ROUTE
10 1 COMP H Galvin -4 Mo. Swing
10 2 COMP F Caldwell 13 Shoot
10 3 COMP Y Cracraft 14 Corner
11 4 COMP Z Marks 7 Verts - BS
11 5 INC X Myers Vert
11 6 COMP H Galvin 9 Out
11 7 COMP Y Ratliff 4 Quick Slant
11 8 COMP Y Cracraft 6 Out
11 9 INC H Bartolone Mesh - Cross
11 10 COMP X Myers 30 Out
12 11 COMP X Mayle 72 Vert
13 12 COMP Y Ratliff 13 Out
13 13 INC H Bartolone Out
13 14 COMP F Mason 4 Shoot
13 15 COMP H Galvin 13 Sc. Cross
13 16 COMP Z Marks 8 Hitch
13 17 COMP X Mayle 3 PA - Screen
13 18 COMP Z K. Williams 9 Slant

Fourth Quarter

Cal_q4_medium

DRIVE CHART # RESULT POS RECEIVER YARDS ROUTE
13 1 INC Z Marks PA - Vert
13 2 INC Y Cracraft Y - Cross
13 3 INC Z K. Williams Dig
14 4 INC F Mason Swing
14 5 COMP Y Ratliff 4 Quick Slant
14 6 INC Y Ratliff Corner
15 7 COMP Y Ratliff 8 Out
15 8 COMP H Galvin 13 Out
15 9 INC Z Marks PA - Vert
15 10 COMP F Mason 5 Swing
15 11 COMP F Laufasa 2 Swing
16 12 INC X Mayle Fade
16 13 INC Z Marks Post
16 14 COMP F Laufasa 9 Swing
17 15 COMP F Caldwell 2 Shoot
17 16 INC Z Marks Corner

Halliday was extremely successful in the short yardage passing game, hitting 80% of his targets within five yards.  The completion percentage dropped off to 58% for the intermediate routes.  His fantastic 10-for-12 third quarter effort for routes between five and fifteen yards stood out when compared to the other quarters, and is the sole reason he ended above 50% in that range on the day.

Obviously the deep ball is going to be a lower percentage throw, but there's still some room for improvement on the 27% completion rate.  Getting that within the 33% to 40% range would really make the offense deadly, and the Cougs were nearly there -- it wasn't for lack of opportunities.  A couple of deep attempts, where Gabe Marks had a step, were just a tad overthrown, and a few pass interference calls took away what would've been solid opportunities for a catch.

What shouldn't surprise anybody familiar with this offense is that 83.5% of Halliday's targets were within 15 yards, and the highest producing routes, in terms of total yardage, came from routes ran closest to the line of scrimmage.  Again, this is helped (massively) by Mason's incredible TD scamper off a swing pass.

Halliday carved up the Bears on the underneath routes, and benefited from some yards after catch that was missing for the first few games of the season.  When the receivers (and running backs) start making plays with the ball, the offensive production immediately skyrockets.  If Halliday can continue to hit the short stuff at a high rate, and stretch the field even just a little more efficiently (2-4 completions), this offense could really be a lot to handle for any of the defenses remaining on the schedule.

This is the first time I've done charts like this. What do you think? Are they worth doing again? Have any suggestions for improving them?

And any thoughts on what you see in the data above?

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