On Monday (22 Sep) John Bishop, on Unsportsmanlike Conduct on 1620 AM in Omaha mentioned that this year's Husker offense is doing something through the first four games of the season that we haven't seen since 1995. The 2014 Nebraska Huskers have averaged at least 5.9 yards per carry through the first four games for the first time since 1995.
That's definitely a stat to bring a smile to any Husker fan's face. But don't allow yourself to start thinking that your 2014 Huskers are comparable to the the 1995 team.
Let's do the comparison and remind ourselves just how crazy, amazing, ridiculously awesome that team really was.
Power Rank and Difficulty of Competition
Through the first four games of 1995 the Huskers were ranked #2 in the AP. As of this week, James Howell has the Huskers power ranked #14. At the end of 1995, the Huskers opponents (Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Arizona State, and Pacific) average power rank was 59.8. As of this week, the 2014 Huskers' opponents (FAU, McNeese State, FSU, and Miami) had an average power rank of 76.3. Advantage: 1995
As Bishop noted, the Huskers have averaged at least 5.9 YPC in every game. While that hasn't happened since 1995, the overall average of 8.5 YPC in 1995 is significantly higher than 2014's average of 6.9. In its first four games in 1995 the Huskers averaged 9.3, 9.5, 7.2, and 8.1 YPC. In 2014 the Huskers averaged 8.7, 5.9, 6.7, and 6.4 YPC. And the 507 YPG average makes 2014's 329 YPG seem trivial. It's worth noting that both teams' opponents' rushing statistics were very similar. Advantage: 1995
Points and First Downs
| Pts || FDs
The '95 Huskers averaged 33% more points and 20% more first downs per game than the '14 Huskers. The '95 Huskers held their opponents to 20% few points and 20% fewer first downs than the '14 Huskers. No contest here. Advantage: 1995
|Pass Atts||Pass Yds|
Finally, something the 2014 Huskers do more of (which is not necessarily better, BTW) than the 1995 team. 2014 is averaging 25% more pass attempts and 28% more yards. The 2014 Huskers are, surprisingly, much stingier in pass defense than the 1995 Huskers. Both teams' opponents averaged 214 YPG, but the 2014 Huskers' opponents are attempting almost 12 more passes per game. Advantage: 2014
689 to 560...almost 25% more YPG than the #8 national total offense. Advantage: 1995
Bad Stuff - Fumbles and Penalties
| Fum ||Fum Lost|| Pen ||Pen Yds|
Through their first four games, both teams averaged 2 fumbles per game. The 1995 Huskers actually lost 3 while the 2014 Huskers have lost 2. The 2014 Huskers are averaging about 1 more penalty and about 16 more penalty YPG than 1995. Advantage: 1995
Do I really think that anyone was beginning to think that the 2014 offense was like the 1995 Huskers? No, not really. But it sure was fun to relook the '95 team. THAT really brings a smile to this stat geek's face.