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Comparing the '14 Huskers to the '95 Huskers is silly but fun

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Unsportsmanlike Conduct notes an offensive statistic that we haven't seen since 1995

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

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

Rank
1995 NU 2.0
2014 NU 14.0
1995 Opp 59.8
2014 Opp 76.3


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

Rushing

Carries Rush Yds YPC
1995 NU 59.5 507.0 8.5
2014 NU 46.5 329.0 6.9
1995 Opp 33.5 105.0 3.1
2014 Opp 31.5 116.0 3.6


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 
1995 NU 60.0 30.5
2014 NU 45.5 25.3
1995 Opp 16.5 13.8
2014 Opp 20.3 18.3

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

Passing

Pass Atts Pass Yds
1995 NU 20.5 181.5
2014 NU 25.8 230.8
1995 Opp 27.5 213.8
2014 Opp 39.3 213.8

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

Total Offense

Total Yds
1995 NU 688.5
2014 NU 559.8
1995 Opp 318.8
2014 Opp 329.8

689 to 560...almost 25% more YPG than the #8 national total offenseAdvantage: 1995

Bad Stuff - Fumbles and Penalties

Fum  
Fum Lost Pen  
Pen Yds
1995 NU 2.0 0.8 4.8 41.5
2014 NU 2.0 0.5 6.0 57.5
1995 Opp 1.5 0.5 6.5 52.5
2014 Opp 1.0 0.3 5.8 50.8

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.

Thanks to HuskerMax for the archived data and Josh Peterson at Unsportsmanlike Conduct for the help with this.