"Teams improve a whole lot between week one and week two" or so as much was said by everyone on the Husker coaching staff whether they were quoted saying it or not. They were right - Nebraska's performance against Southern Miss was a world ahead of the previous week against Wyoming.
One reason; the biggest number of the week is 60 - the number of minutes that Nebraska played against Southern Miss, as opposed to the 53 or 54 against Wyoming. They will have to play 60 again this week against UCLA. It'll be that kind of game.
1 - Turnover in the game against Southern Miss, breaking the 14-game streak of two turnovers per game. The sole turnover came on a fumble by freshman running back Terrell Newby. Given his performance and youth he's forgiven, but please don't make this a habit, Mr Newby.
2 - UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr's national rank in sacks last year. He tied with six other guys, including Jadeveon Clowney with 13 sacks. Barr was seventh nationally in tackles for loss with 21. He only started playing defense last year and he has 25 career starts, 15 of those on defense. In Rick Neuheisel's world, Barr was a fullback. Bet he wasn't all that sad to see Ricky go, given that Barr in considered a first round NFL draft pick as an outside linebacker.
4 - Passing TDs by UCLA in last year's Nebraska game.
UCLA amassed 309 yards in the air, 305 of those by Brett Hundley, a quarterback making only his second start. Hundley was 21-33 passing. Hundley set ULCA season records for passing yds (3,740); total offense (4,095); and completions (318) last year. He finished with 29 TD passes, second in school history for a season.
5 - The times my 14-year old told me to stop yelling at the TV during the Southern Miss game, significantly less than the 37 times the previous week.
6 - Nebraska drives in the second half of last year's UCLA's game which ended in three-and-outs or worse. One drive ended a fumble, another a safety, and yet another an interception.
7 - UCLA's national ranking in rushing offense. The Bruins have payed only one game against Nevada.
8 - Nebraska's national ranking in rushing offense after two games. If you look at it from a yards per carry perspective, the Huskers are 19th with a 6.06 average.
9 - Outside linebacker Kenny Orjioke's blocked punt vs. Nevada was the ninth kick blocked by the Bruins since Jim Mora became head coach
11 - Nebraska's attempts on third down in last year's UCLA game. Out of 11 attempts, ONE ended in a first down. ONE. If the Huskers expect to win this game, the offense must be consistent throughout all four quarters.
12 - This is the 12th meeting between these teams with Nebraska having a 6-5 overall record and a 4-1 record in Lincoln.
16 - Nebraska's national ranking in scoring offense at 46.5 points per game. (UCLA is ranked fifth).
18 - Bo Pelini is 18-3 in September over the course of his head coaching career.
20 - Nebraska's national ranking in turnover margin, tied with seven other teams, including Michigan State. The margin is +3.
28 - How many points UCLA scored in the first quarter in 1988 as they went on to a 41-28 win. Troy Aikman was their quarterback. I watched at a friend's house in Minnesota. He never invited me over again. True story. Also Taylor Martinez is 28 yards from becoming the eighth player and second quarterback in Nebraska history with 3,000 career rushing yards.
32 - The 1972 Bruin team, using a wishbone attack under the direction of first-year starter Mark Harmon, which had finished the previous season with two wins, snapped the 32-game unbeaten streak of the Huskers who had captured National Championships in 1970 and 1971. Remember that? FIRE TOM OSBORNE! HE'S NO BOB DEVANEY! (Alternative, non-self loathing version: WOohooO! Feel the Bruin HATE coursing through your veins now?)
36 - 20-year old Nick Pasquale's number, the young man who was killed this past week. The Bruins will wear No. 36 emblems on their jerseys while Nebraska players will have Pasquale's number on their helmets. There will be a moment of silence before the kickoff. A foundation has been set up in his honor:
In lieu of meals, flowers, and gifts, we invite you to donate to the Nick Pasquale Foundation. Created in loving memory of Nick, this charitable cause will use its monetary donations for the financial support of athletes who (a) demonstrate extreme effort and leadership on their sport's team and/or (b) charitable groups influencing sports and athletes (c) athletes who are in need of grants or scholarships to pursue their dreams.
41 - Career starts for Taylor Martinez coming into this game.
57th - Nebraska's national ranking in rush defense in yards per game. This is much better than last week's rank - 96 - although from a "yards per carry" perspective, the Huskers are 99th at 4.93. Again, much better than Wyoming, where the defense allowed 7.3 yards per rush.
96th - Nebraska's national ranking in passing offense. The Huskers have 174.5 yards per game. In pass efficiency offense, they are ranked 25th, a very nice ranking. I could have spun that better, but
105th - Nebraska's national ranking in pass defense in yards per game. The Husker defense has allowed 302.5 yards per game after two games. It doesn't get all that much better if you look at pass efficiency defense as the ranking rises to 73rd.
92 - Nebraska's national ranking in total defense.
71 - Huskers players that participated in the game last week against Southern Miss. This is an excellent number, one of my favorite of the week! Ron Kellogg III vs Tommy Armstrong Jr - we could have a real discussion about that because now we've actually seen them in a live game! MORE MORE MORE!
73 - The total number of starts on UCLA's offensive line. Offensive guard Xavier Su'a-Filo has 28, the most on the Bruin team. An offensive line that's played that much together presents a formidable challenge for our defensive line which, by going off our depth chart, has 31 with Jason Ankrah the high at 20.
106 - The number of passing attempts Hundley has thrown without an interception. IT'S A CHALLENGE!
121 - Nebraska's national ranks in opponent long scrimmage plays. This number must come down significantly if the Huskers are to have a great season.
211 - UCLA Wide Receiver Shaquelle Evans' weight. He is 6'1". Compare to Quincy Enunwa at 6'2", 225. Evans is the top Bruin receiver, having 60 receptions for 877 yards last season, and starting this year with six catches for 81 yards against Nevada.
300 - Pelini pinpointed 300 yards of UCLA's offense coming after first contact. "Their offense is built on speed and creating one-on-one opportunities," Pelini said.
302 - The highest price ticket currently available for this game. As of this morning, there were 277 tickets available from $58 to $302 through our ticket partner (see at the above menu where it says "tickets"? - yeah, right there).
328 - UCLA will be Nebraska's 328th consecutive sell out of Memorial Stadium.
647 - Total yardage gained by UCLA against Nevada in their first game of the season.
858 - Nebraska's all time wins. Michigan tops everyone at 905, followed by Texas at 868, Notre Dame at 866, and then our beloved Huskers. It'd be nice to see Texas and Notre Dame keep losing so we could overtake them.
2,384 - Husker fans who contacted the University of Nebraska Athletic Department this week wondering about "alternative uniforms", what they were, why Nebraska was using them, or if they could buy one in a nurse's outfit. 785 called to object to a "Black Out" because they heard about one of those in a big city somewhere and the National Guard had to come save everyone. Four apologized for wanting some form of violence used against the coaches and players last week but reserved the right to to want it again pending outcome of the UCLA game. One wanted to use violence against the coaches, but wanted to make sure he could do it hisself.
Eleventybillion - the number of famous alumni from UCLA. Too numerous to bother with. Oh, yeah, whatever. I saw that documentary released a few years ago, "Escape from L.A.", narrated by Snake Plissken. That place is a shithole. I can't believe they can run a fully functional university there.
*Note that I use cfbstats.com for my numbers. UCLA's media guide shows some discrepancies.