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Numbers, Statistics, and Lies: Week 5

A deep dive into the Husker books, kneejerk analysis and why you should not believe everything the numbers are trying to tell you.

Gallery: Late Husker Surge Toppels Illinois
Coach: "…and so their AD gave him a big fat contract extension through 2026…" ~Wolvie
“Stanley: Yo coach! You give me a ride home from practice? Coach: You mother***” ~SccrHusker
David McGee

In Tuesday’s “caption contest” post I promised to use the winning caption for this article. We actually had a tie for first place. You will see Wolvie and SccrHuskers’s submissions at the top of the article. Coach: "…and so their AD gave him a big fat contract extension through 2026…" and “Stanley: Yo coach! You give me a ride home from practice? Coach: You mother***” I originally read the second one wrong, but fortunately SccrHusker corrected me.

Runner-up honors go to huskerfanindc with “Kdub: Stan, you wanna hear something funny?Stan: Let’s hear it. Kdub: Iowa.”

I hope everyone got some good laughs out of it. Since the poll seemed to favor continuing caption contests, you are likely to see some more.

On to Numbers, Statistics, and Lies....

Numbers: 53 and 55

Statistic: Nebraska has converted 120 first downs on offense ranking them #25 in FBS and #1 in the Big Ten. Fifty-three of those have been by rushing and 55 by passing. If you are curious, the Huskers are also averaging 234 rushing yards and 238 passing yards per game. (If you are wondering, no 55+53 does not = 120. Some conversions are via penalty).

Lie: No one can stop this incredibly balanced offense.

I love this symmetry. I really appreciate the job Danny Langsdorf is doing this year. I also notice that the Huskers are one of the worst red zone offenses in the country. They are scoring points on 79% of their trips inside the 20 (in 2015 they scored 89% of the time).

I did not have time to really dig into some of the “whys” or “whats” to diagnose this. I will say that the Huskers are finishing with touchdowns (vs field goals) at a much higher clip than last year, so I suspect the points per trip into the red zone is still pretty good. It may also be that this year’s offense is waiting to fumble until the red zone rather than coughing it up further back on the field? I will try to follow up on this during the bye.

Numbers - Statistics - Lies II

Number: 105

Statistic. The Blackshirts are currently 15th in the country and 2nd in the B1G in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 105. (The Buckeyes are leading the country with an unreal rating of 74, which is 12 points better than the 2nd place team).

Pass efficiency defense is an index formula that accounts for yards, completions, interceptions, and touchdowns given up.

Lie: The Blackshirts are back!

The pass defense has been a pleasant surprise for sure, but the Huskers’ rating here is partially a result of the high number of interceptions they have snagged (and unfortunately, we don’t get to play Wyoming every week). This secondary is turning into a really solid unit, but I will wait until after Indiana to begin throwing around any enthusiastic descriptors.

Obligatory Pile of Numbers

The offense is largely holding steady in their overall performance outside of that pesky red zone problem. The defense continues to climb up the charts. The rush defense has a little work to do, but I’ll take this over the terror I felt every time I saw a QB drop back to pass in 2015. Let’s hope this chink in the armor doesn’t turn into /WisconsinScoresAgain in a few weeks.

Over the bye week, I’ll add some special teams data to the table. Spoiler alert: Does Bruce Read have a buyout clause in his contract?

Non-Husker Numbers & Stats of the Week

Number: 11

Statistic: The Washington Huskies have a turnover margin of +11 so far this season. They have taken the ball away 15 times and only given it away 4 times. The 2nd best turnover margin is being posted by Ohio State at +8. Washington’s defense is wreaking havoc and their offense is taking care of the ball. Who’da thunk that is a winning formula?

The Huskers rank 23rd in FBS at +4. However, outside of the Wyoming meltdown, Nebraska is -1.

Corny Poetry

Huskers are red
Bye week makes me blue
Lots of players are injured
We hope everyone gets well soon