Let's start out with some good news - Baylor has forced only one turnover in their Big 12 games this season! Rather than getting all negative with that "they haven't faced our offense yet", let's try to keep our positive energy up. A good season is still in sight, and it can easily begin this weekend against the Bears.
I mentioned the Bear's offensive woes in the "Under the Hood" article earlier, but Baylor has only scored 24 points in their three Big 12 games. Digging deeper, it's worthy to note that two of their three touchdowns were scored in the fourth quarters of their games after their opponents had built sizable leads, in other words, in 'garbage' time.
Baylor has lost 22 consecutive games when trailing by halftime, so it behooves the Husker offense to get rolling and score some points early.
|National||Big 12||National||Big 12|
|3rd Down Conversions||30||3||96||11|
|Red Zone Conversions (Score %)||96||11||87||12|
|Tackles for Loss||37||5||80||12|
As you might have expected, Nebraska dropped by quite a bit since last week in two key categories:
- From 59th to 96th nationally in red zone scoring percentage
- From 37th to 96th nationally in turnover margin, from fourth to tenth in the Big 12.
- Nebraska went from 104th to 94th nationally in penalties. That's a nice improvement and one could hope a sign that the offensive line has gotten it together.
- Notice the horrid third-down conversion for Baylor. On the surface their running game doesn't look horrendous, but against Big 12 opponents, they're rushing for only 46 yards per game with a 2.42 yard per carry average . Their top running back, Jay Finley, has been injured and they're obviously missing Robert Griffin. Still, I wouldn't expect their luck to get any better against the Husker defensive line.
- Surprisingly, the Bears have done better throwing the ball against Big 12 conference defenses, where they've averaged 259.3 yards per game, better than their 197 yard per game average against non-conference teams. This despite the fact that their pass efficiency rating has dropped from 147.12 to 106.45. This, again, is due to Griffin's absence.
- Neither teams has been dazzling in the return department, although Niles Paul is 38th nationally in punt return average and 51st nationally in kickoff returns. Baylor's Terrence Williams is 35th nationally. Neither team has scored on returns.
- Baylor's Derek Epperson is third nationally in punting average with a 46.09 yards per punt average, while Alex Henery is 63rd with 40.00 yards per punt. Given Nebraska's offensive problems, field position could play a key role in this game.
- Bottom line - there's absolutely no reason Nebraska doesn't win this game. The Bears shouldn't be able to do much offensively, and our offense should be able to move the ball against their defense. As it is in most years with Baylor, they have some playmakers, but not enough depth on either side of the ball to stop us for four quarters.
- All of the paragraph can be tossed if Nebraska continues to stop ourselves.
All statistics are courtesy of cfbstats.com.