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Under the Hood: Nebraska vs Oklahoma Statistical Comparison

What's your perception about Oklahoma? Juggernaut? Wounded and vulnerable? Or does it matter?

Husker fans would have put the Sooners in 'juggernaut' category before this season began, writing this game off as a loss. That perception probably hasn't changed much due to our laggard offense, even though Oklahoma isn't the same team they were at the start of the season. 

This game features two of the best defenses in the nation, and when I say best, I don't mean "in the top 20" in defensive categories, I mean number one and two in a lot of categories. That should lead to a very interesting game. 

Offensive Statistics

Nebraska   Oklahoma
Rush YPG 146.13 (62/7)   146.50 (60/6)
Rush YPC 4.51 (42/2)   3.91 (77/8)
Rush TDS 13 (53/8)   12 (63/9)
Pass YPG 221.8 (57/8)   277.4 (20/4)
Pass YPA 7.1 (62/7)   7.4 (47/5)
Pass TDS 12 (58/8)   19 (11/3)
Pass Efficiency 128.14 (62/8)   140.63 (33/5)
Total Offense 367.9 (69/9)   423.9 (30/4)

Defensive Statistics

Nebraska   Oklahoma
Rush YPG 95 (10/3)   80 (3/2)
Rush YPC 2.65 (7/3)   2.56 (3/2)
Rush TDS 5 (12/3)   4 (8/2)
Pass YPG 171.4 (13/1)   197.3 (37/3)
Pass YPA 5.6 (11/3)   5.5 (9/2)
Pass TDS 3 (1/1)   7 (15/2)
Total Defense 266.4 (8/2)   277.3 (11/3)
Scoring Defense 11.3 (4/1)   12.6 (8/2)

Nebraska vs. Oklahoma Opponent Positional Ranks

Total Offense Rank Nebraska Opponent Total Defense Rank   Total Offense Rank Oklahoma Total Defense Rank
9 Florida Atlantic 110   11 BYU 51
87 Arkansas State 44   - Idaho State -
73 @Virginia Tech 29   54 Tulsa 46
81 UL-Lafayette 97   55 Miami 52
64 @Missouri 32   84 Baylor 85
4 Texas Tech 59   31 Texas 3
57 Iowa State 90   10 Kansas 47
84 @Baylor 85   75 Kansas State 43
57.38 Average 68.25   45.71 Average 46.71

Idaho State not FCS, so not included. 

- I was surprised to see that Oklahoma is struggling at running the ball more than we are. Given how much angst has gone into screaming about Shawn Watson's playcalling, both teams suffer from the same basic problem - weak offensive lines.

- If we looked further, we'd find that both teams have the deck literally stacked against them when it comes to the run. Both teams have faced heavy defensive fronts all year, forcing both offenses into a passing game. 

- Which leads directly to the biggest difference between these two teams - Oklahoma has figured out how to score touchdowns in the passing game. There is a seven touchdown differential between these offenses. To put it bluntly, that means that Menelik Holt would have caught the ball in the end zone against Virginia Tech, Niles Paul would have held onto the ball and scored against Iowa State, and then we'd have five more against Texas Tech. We'd be undefeated! (Okay, fine.... we'd have beaten Virginia Tech and Iowa State, but we wouldn't be in the position we're in now). 

- Gosh, did I just say that the offense has problems on both the offensive line and receiving corps? Why... yes, I did. Does that exonerate Shawn Watson? Not entirely. The "towards the bottom half of the conference" yards per catch is endemic of Watson's "throw to the sideline"  

- Defense.... people don't like defensive games anymore, do they? Boring watching two teams beat the crap out of each other, apparently. Well, I hope this game is boring for everyone in the fact that it needs to be low scoring because that gives Nebraska a chance. Oklahoma can score. Nebraska can not.... or at least has not.

- If you're holding hope that this is the game the offense breaks out..... I admire your faith. Join us for the game thread!