Under the Hood - Nebraska Cornhuskers versus Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma's record on the season is 10-2. As everyone knows, if it weren't for the Pac-10 giving the reply official a horrible angle on the call, Oklahoma would be 11-1 and we'd be talking about them potentially contending for the national title game.

Now that I've gotten that out of my sytem, we're going to line up some statistical numbers by both teams and see how they compare.

Here's the Sooner 2006 schedule:


9/2 UAB W 24-17
9/9 Washington W 37-20
9/16 at Oregon L 34-33
9/23 Mid Tenn State W 59-0
10/7 vs. Texas L 28-10
10/14 Iowa State W 34-9
10/21 Colorado W 24-3
10/28 at Missouri W 26-10
11/4 at Texas A&M W 17-16
11/11 Texas Tech W 34-24
11/18 at Baylor W 36-10
11/25 at Oklahoma St W 27-21

Average margin of victory - 18.6 points - Take away the 59-0 win over MTSU, and the margin is still 14.1 points. Not bad.
Average margin in losses - 9.5 points

Oklahoma Sagarin ranking - 16
Oklahoma Schedule Ranking - 37

Nebraska Sagarin ranking - 29
Nebraska Schedule Ranking - 62

What about Oklahoma's and Nebraska's performance statistically? Below are the team's offensive and defensive season totals, with national rank in parentheses.

Oklahoma By The Numbers: Offense
Rush YPG Rush YPC Touchdowns Pass YPG Pass YPA Touchdowns QB Rating Total Offense Scoring Offense
188.67 (14) 4.61 (27) 22 (22) 182.0 (80) 8.0 (25) 18 (45) 145.00 (25) 370.7 (39) 30.1 (23)
Nebraska By The Numbers: Offense
Rush YPG Rush YPC Touchdowns Pass YPG Pass YPA Touchdowns QB Rating Total Offense Scoring Offense
183.25 (18) 4.44 (35) 26 (9) 250.8 (18) 9.0 (4) 30 (7) 164.9 (5) 434.0 (9) 33.9 (9)
Oklahoma By The Numbers: Defense
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD Completion % Total Defense Scoring Defense
99.42 (19) 3.25 (25) 9 (19) 174.1 (27) 5.9 (17) 10 (17) 51.4 (8) 273.5 (14) 16.0 (18)
Nebraska By The Numbers: Defense
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD Completion % Total Defense Scoring Defense
126.92 (48) 4.08 (73) 12 (43) 219.8 (84) 6.8 (50) 14 (50) 53.6 (27) 346.8 (71) 18.2 (30)

How do the offensive and defensive numbers relate to the teams' 2006 schedule? The following chart shows the national rank in total offense and total defense for each of the 2006 opponents for both teams. Nicholls State is a Div 1AA team and is therefore excluded.

Nebraska-Oklahoma Opponents' Positional Ranks
Total Offense Rank Nebraska Opponent Total Defense Rank -- Total Offense Rank Oklahoma Opponent Total Defense Rank
63
Louisiana Tech
119
--
94
UAB
83
--
Nicholls State
--
--
76
Washington
94
23
USC
28
--
8
Oregon
33
82
Troy
76
--
106
Mid Tenn State
54
34
Kansas
93
--
24
Texas
23
81
Iowa State
102
--
81
Iowa State
102
71
Kansas State
62
--
102
Colorado
68
24
Texas
23
--
13
Missouri
37
16
Oklahoma State
91
--
19
Texas A&M
39
13
Missouri
37
--
6
Texas Tech
50
19
Texas A&M
39
--
85
Baylor
110
102
Colorado
68
--
16
Oklahoma State
91
48
Average
67.09
--
52.5
Average
65.33

So what do we see when looking at the stats when comparing these two teams?

- These teams have faced close to the same competition in terms of offenses and defenses. The averages are very close on both offense and defense.

- Neither team has beat anyone of note. Both teams lost to the only notable opponents they played, Texas, USC, and Oregon. Nebraska added a loss against Oklahoma State.

- Both teams beat Texas A&M by a single point AT Kyle Field. Oklahoma hung on to win their game, Nebraska came back, exploding through the air to win their game.

- Oklahoma's success comes when rushing the ball, obviously, although their quarterback rating is higher than I'd originally expected. It's a little surprising that Nebraska has more touchdowns on the ground than does Oklahoma, although they are close. The obvious difference is Nebraska's passing attack - if there's one thing we can take comfort in - it's that we score.

- Speaking of scoring, the points per game given up by each team is very close. Nebraska's defense has given up much more yardage, but not scoring. If we limit the big plays, we should be fine, tightening up as Oklahoma nears the red zone.

- At the beginning of this season, nearly everyone thought that the defense would have to carry this team. What a difference a year has made for Nebraska, as last year at this time, we were 109th in rushing, 55th in passing, and 97th in total offense.

- Oklahoma's defense ranks high everywhere - in the Top 25 in all categories except pass yardage per game where they're at 27. Looking back, in the Oregon game Oklahoma gave up 343 yards passing, nearly twice it's season average.

- Nebraska has a very high per average catch, no doubt because we've been successful at running the football this year to open up the pass. Oklahoma will have the best defense we've faced to date, which leads to the next point.

- You'd have to ask if Oklahoma has faced some good running games this year. Other than Texas, Oregon and Texas Tech are known for their passing offenses (remember that Oregon beat Oklahoma with passing at the end of the game). So, the question is - will Oklahoma stop our run, or have they been playing against average-run offenses?

- Can you find anyone out there in the mass media who has picked Nebraska to win this game? Leave any answers in the comments area, please. Guess, I'm just amazed that Oklahoma has been written in as the winner by the vast majority, most without a thought.

HT to BON for this completely stolen idea. I liked it, I stole it.

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