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Interactive Graphic: Previewing WSU vs. Cal

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Let's explore the Cougar offensive line, how they are pass blocking much better than the national stats indicate, and how this is an opportunity to take another step forward. Will the Cougar defense have enough chances to get after Jared Goff and disrupt his stellar play?

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

If there is any indicator that being an offensive lineman is a thankless job, it was my having to go 15 pages of photos before finding one that focuses on one of the big uglies and even then, it really seems like more of a picture of Connor Halliday than Gunnar Eklund.

When I started looking at the data for this weekend’s game I was really surprised to see that Washington State ranked 92nd in the nation in sacks allowed, giving up 2.40 sacks a game.  It has felt like Joe Dahl and company were playing better than that.

No other team in the country has passed the ball more than the Cougs, thus more opportunities to give up sacks.  I took the number of passing attempts + sacks allowed divided by sacks allowed to get "Drop Backs Per Sack Given Up" and this stat tells a much prettier picture.

Washington State is giving up a sack every 26 drop backs, good for 34th in the country and 4th in the Pac-12.

On the flipside, the Cal Bears have faced more passes than every team in the country with the exception of Bowling Green (more chances to get sacks).  Yet, they rank 109th in the country in drop backs per sack, only getting to the QB every 29 passes.

The Cougs  have been sacking the opposition's QB every 14 drop backs, but that stat is greatly helped by getting to Marcus Mariota 7 times on 32 opportunities .

Jared Goff only throws the ball 31 times a game, but he throws it to great effect.   If Xavier Cooper and company can get pressure like they did vs Oregon, hopefully we will see Goff take a similar tumble out of the top 5 in YPA and top 6 in TD% that Travis Wilson did and another Cougar victory.

One thing to note on the views:

If you filter to all teams, Baylor and New Mexico don't show up on the first view because they have not given up any sacks.  If you want to remove the outliers of Syracuse and Arkansas, you can click their logo individually, hover over it and choose "exclude" or you can lasso any number of teams and choose "keep only" or "exclude" depending on what you're trying to see.