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Under The Hood: Nebraska vs. Arizona Holiday Bowl Statistical Comparison

Glad to see the Husker players enjoy the fruits of their labor at the end of the season. What kind of crotchety SOB (Hee hee hee!!!!) would want to take the bowls away when it's the student athletes who work so hard for a reward at the end of the season?

We're sticking with the same format for our statistical comparisons for Wednesday's game against the Wildcats, so nothing has changed yet. As we're rapidly approaching the offseason, I'm open to any format changes you'd like to see for next year, or any formulas you'd like to follow.

Offensive Statistics

Nebraska   Arizona
Rush YPG 141.23 (68)   167.50 (47)
Rush YPC 3.96 (71)   4.90 (16)
Rush TDS 18 (67)   19 (59)
Pass YPG 175.9 (101)   240.0 (39)
Pass YPA 6.7 (87)   6.4 (97)
Pass TDS 15 (77)   20 (50)
Pass Efficiency 122.30 (83)   127.36 (65)
Total Offense 317.20 (102)   407.5 (40)
Scoring Offense 24.5 (80)   29.7 (41)

- Does anyone think we'll magically find a passing offense before this bowl game?

-Arizona's offense not all that special, but consider that they started the season with Matt Scott at quarterback, then switched to Nick Foles who's put together a pretty decent season, completing over 66% of his passes for 2,437 yards, with 19 TDs and 8 INTs. His passer rating is 132.21, higher than the team average.

- Arizona's low yard per catch is most likely due to their penchant for running a lot of screens and under routes. Nick Foles is not mobile (i.e., he's no Todd Reesing), so it'll be interesting to see how they handle Ndamukong Suh and Jared Crick. They can't exactly do a lot of misdirection and rolling the quarterback, and the Huskers will most likely blow up their screens.

- The Wildcats finished second in the Pac-10 in passing offense, and fourth in rushing.  Oregon (Jeremiah Masoli) Stanford (Heisman trophy finalist Toby Gerhart) and Cal (Jahvid Best) were ahead of them in rushing, while Oregon State (Jacquizz Rodgers) finished ahead in passing. Each of those teams had a nationally known star player - yet Arizona - you couldn't name someone on their offense unless you were looking for them.

Defensive Statistics

Nebraska   Arizona
Rush YPG 94.69 (11)   111.92 (22)
Rush YPC 2.77 (7)   3.76 (45)
Rush TDS 7 (8)   14 (40)
Pass YPG 189.1 (25)   203.9 (43)
Pass YPA 5.4 (6)   6.2 (21)
Pass TDS 7 (2)   18 (66)
Efficiency 90.53 (3)   117.91 (38)
Total Defense 283.8 (9)   315.8 (21)
Scoring Defense 11.2 (2)   23.2 (46)


- We've given up only seven passing TDs this season, three of them against Colorado - that's still an amazing stat, considering the offenses we faced (Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas).

- Arizona faced two of the top rushing offenses in the nation in Oregon and Stanford. Oregon gained 175 yards on 37 attempts for a 4.73 ypc average and three TDs. Against Stanford the Wildcats gave up 150 yards on 40 attempts for a 3.75 ypc average and two TDs. (Unfortunately against Stanford they gave up 434 yards and three TDs passing, but they pull out a 43-38 win).

The Details

Nebraska   Arizona
3rd Down Conversions (Pctg) 37.16 (79)   43.27 (33)
Red Zone Conversions (Score %) 80.43 (69)   79.25 (78)
Turnover Margin +4 (41)   0 (60)
Sacks 42 (2)   34 (13)
Sacks/Game 3.23 (3)   2.83 (12)
Tackles for Loss 89 (14)   69 (56)
Sacks Allowed 19 (43)   11 (10)
Punting (Avg) 41.46 (45)   41.44 (46)
Punt Returns (Avg) 11.34 (34)   16.40 (4)
Kickoffs (Avg) 68.30 (1)   62.99 (44)
Kickoff Returns (Avg) 23.31 (34)   24.48 (11)
Penalties (Yds/G) 64.5 (102)   44.5 (25)


- Sacks Allowed by Arizona, 10th, less than one sack given up a game. That's pretty impressive.... until you consider that USC lead the Pac-10 with 35 sacks. That's less than Nebraska, Texas Tech, Texas, and Oklahoma had. Heck, Texas A&M had 35 sacks this season.

- A national ranking of 13th in sacks, doesn't suck however. Wildcat Ricky Elmore finished the regular season with 10.5 sacks to lead the Pac-10. That probably means that we'll see a tight end on his side for most of the game because our tackles have really struggled with good DE's this season. More Dreu Young doesn't exactly suck, you know.

- Arizona's Travis Cobb is ranked 26th in KO returns this season, with a 26.04 average and one touchdown. His touchdown came against Washington State, though, when he had two returns for 131 yards. Niles Paul is 22nd in KO returns, with a 26.47 average and no TDs.

- The Wildcats have returned 15 punts all season. That's 97th in the nation. They're ranked fourth in punt return average because against Washington State they had three returns for 115 yards for a 38.33 yard average and a touchdown. They also had four returns against Arizona State for a 21.75 yard average and a TD. William "Bug" Wright doesn't rank nationally because he hasn't met the minimum, but he's had 11 returns for a 19.18 yard average and a touchdown so far this season.

Opponent Comparison

Total Offense Rank Nebraska Opponent Total Defense Rank   Total Offense Rank Arizona Total Defense Rank
20 Florida Atlantic 112   30 Central Michigan 28
95 Arkansas State 42   - Northern Arizona -
57 @Virginia Tech 14   93 Iowa 11
73 UL-Lafayette 93   37 Oregon State 48
31 @Missouri 55   63 Washington 79
7 Texas Tech 46   13 Stanford 85
75 Iowa State 99   88 UCLA 39
85 @Baylor 94   119 Washington St 120
29 Oklahoma 7   50 California 71
26 Kansas 75   25 Oregon 33
81 Kansas State 40   91 Arizona State 12
104 Colorado 59   56 USC 41
18 Texas 3        
53.92 Average 56.85   55.42 Average 47.25


I have put this here for discussion purposes. Wow, Washington State really really sucks.

Notice that Arizona played three teams ranked in the top 30 in total offense, while Nebraska played five. Big deal? It is when you consider that Pac-10 fans may feel like the Big 12 doesn't have some good offenses this season.


Stats are courtesy of

Note on Marty over there has restricted access to his situtational views because some self-centered baffoon out there never credited his site for using the stats. That's extremely annoying. Here's a guy who runs a great site that provides a helluva service to college football fans, and some jerk has to go ruin it for everyone. (Insert all sorts of profanity here).