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Under The Hood: Nebraska vs. Kansas State Statistical Comparison

Take yourself back to August. You'd been reading the sticky-sweet gooeyness that is offseason Husker football coverage for several months, and the 2009 team had yet to play a game. You were sure Nebraska would win the Big 12 North. Maybe you thought the team was capable of more than that, maybe not. But I can almost guarantee you that if I had told you we'd be playing Kansas State for the Big 12 North title and that they'd have a better offense than the Huskers, you'd have thought my credibility was zero and never visited this site again unless you were looking for a good laugh. 

Yet here we are with a questionable offense. And so is Kansas State. 

The Husker offense has struggled much more than even the grumblers predicted. With two regular season games left, we're still not sure what might show up this Saturday. Given Kansas State's pass defense, you'd hope that Zac Lee can find Niles Paul on deep routes like he did against the Jayhawks.  Consistency is what we'll be looking for this week - more offensive production, as Shawn Watson mentioned last week

A win against the Wildcats is not a given. KSU has been one of the weirder teams in the nation this season, losing to Louisiana-Lafayette in September, and then in consecutive weeks giving up 66 points in a loss to Texas Tech while coming back to destroy Texas A&M, scoring 62 points in the process. 

Offensive Statistics 

Nebraska   Kansas State
Rush YPG 152.40 (57/6)   183.55 (31/3)
Rush YPC 4.43 (48/3)   4.30 (52/4)
Rush TDS 16 (56/7)   22 (17/2)
Pass YPG 200.9 (82/9)   170.9 (105/12)
Pass YPA 7.0 (71/9)   7.1 (65/8)
Pass TDS 13 (71/9)   7 (111/12)
Pass Efficiency 127.50 (67/8)   124.54 (78/10)
Total Offense 353.3 (77/11)   354.5 (75/3)

Defensive Statistics 

Nebraska   Kansas State
Rush YPG 93.90 (8/4)   105.82 (23/6)
Rush YPC 2.72 (6/3)   3.67 (42/7)
Rush TDS 6 (9/3)   9 (23/4)
Pass YPG 185.2 (26/3)   240.7 (90/10)
Pass YPA 5.4 (6/3)   7.0 (56/9)
Pass TDS 4 (1/1)   24 (115/12)
Total Defense 279.1 (10/3)   346.5 (47/6)
Scoring Defense 11.0 (3/1)   23.9 (59/8)

Opponent Statistical Ranks

Total Offense Rank Nebraska Opponent Total Defense Rank   Total Offense Rank Kansas State Total Defense Rank
15 Florida Atlantic 111   - Umass -
96 Arkansas State 53   83 UL-Lafayette 93
62 @Virginia Tech 16   84 UCLA 37
83 UL-Lafayette 93   - Tennessee Tech -
55 @Missouri 39   67 Iowa State 92
6 Texas Tech 54   6 Texas Tech 54
67 Iowa State 92   8 Texas A&M 104
81 @Baylor 91   105 Colorado 73
21 Oklahoma 6   21 Oklahoma 6
27 Kansas 52   27 Kansas 52

  55 Missouri 39
51.3  Average  60.7   50.67 Average 61.11

- UMass and Tennesee Tech are Div IAA (FCS) opponents, so are not included in the stats.

- More about how funny a season goes. Back in June, I stated that Kansas State's two primary strengths were schedule and pass defense. Schedule has played a double-edged sword. While the two games against FCS foes were wins that gave the Wildcats some confidence, the Wildcats can only count one towards bowl eligibility. They must win this weekend to become bowl eligible, so if they lose, Bill Snyder's legendary desire for cupcakes may come back to bite them. 

- What happened to the Wildcat secondary? If you watched the Kansas State - Missouri game last week, you saw a Wildcat defense consistently give up the long pass. You might have thought that was because Mizzou's Danario Alexander played like a Randy Moss look-alike, but instead it's because the Wildcats secondary has been pretty bad this season. 

The run defense looks decent enough, but if there's a comparable stat that stands out above it's the Huskers giving up only four passing TDs all season, while the Wildcats have one of the worst secondaries in the nation, giving up more passing touchdowns than everyone but Idaho. 

- Both teams like to run the ball and both teams will have a tough time doing so. Nebraska has the advantage (obviously) in that they can toss some deep balls to soften up the defense. Kansas State may hope to do the same in hitting Brandon Banks for a big play here or there, but most likely they're just going to try to slug it out on the ground and hope that Nebraska commits mistakes (as we have most of the season). 

- The Husker national ranking for rushing touchdowns went from 73 to 56 after scoring 31 points against Kansas. That's a healthy jump. The 56th ranking isn't earth-shattering by any means but if it can continue to improve the Huskers still have a shot at an incredible season. 

- We'll have more statistics tomorrow, looking at some more of the esoteric stuff.