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Numbers, Statistics & Lies: Northwestern and Devine Ozigbo Edition

We take a closer look at the defense, a senior running back, and check in on progress toward 1000 yards.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Northwestern Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

So close and yet so far. The Huskers looked good, until they didn’t, last Saturday. Penalties, defensive breakdowns, and bad execution at critical times doomed Nebraska.

Last week, I threw a few graphs about the offense in here. This week is the defense’s turn. And Devine Ozigbo’s. Most Husker fans have noticed and appreciated the work Devine Ozigbo is doing but still shuffle him to the background as we admire our shiny new toys.

Color Coded Pile of Numbers

There is not a lot of movement in the color-coded pile. The offense improved a few areas from red to yellow and yellow to green, but overall is still having issues with putting up points and converting third downs.

The defense shifted a couple of yellows to red in the passing categories as Clayton Thorson slung the ball all over the place.

Where are the numbers lying to us? If you look at the brightest spot on the defensive section of the color-coded pile, the number of sacks and tackles for loss look good and suggest the Blackshirts are doing a decent job at penetration and pass rushing. The eye test however, says that Chinander is having to manufacture a pass rush by blitzing at critical times. When that blitz doesn’t get home, it leaves the secondary handing in the wind and vulnerable to big plays.

Graphing the Defense

In this graph, the blue bars are the yard/rush allowed by the Blackshirts. The red bar is the yard/pass completed and the yellow bar is yards/play allowed. For reference, the average FBS rush attempt gains 4.8 yards, average pass completed gains 8.27 yards, and average play gains 5.07 yards.

Devine Ozigbo

The workhorse senior running back has been picking up steam since Greg Bell left the team. He’s had a couple of outstanding games, a couple of OK games, and a couple of not-so-great games. He is not flashy, but 1) he doesn’t lose many yards and 2) he has yet to fumble this season.

Every time Ozigbo touches the ball, the Husker offense gains 6.5 yard on average. He trails only JD Spielman (553) in terms of scrimmage yards (rushing + receiving).

Devine Ozigbo 2018 (first six games)

Game Attempts Yards gained Yards lost Net yards rushing Yards/carry Longest run Fumbles Touchdowns Passes caught Yards receiving Total yards (scrimmage) yards/touch
Game Attempts Yards gained Yards lost Net yards rushing Yards/carry Longest run Fumbles Touchdowns Passes caught Yards receiving Total yards (scrimmage) yards/touch
vs Colorado 14 61 1 60 4.3 8 0 1 2 17 77 4.8
vs Troy 9 30 5 25 2.8 11 0 0 1 7 32 3.2
vs Michigan 6 9 4 5 0.8 6 0 0 1 5 10 1.4
vs Purdue 17 170 0 170 10 35 0 2 2 28 198 10.4
vs Wisconsin 5 29 0 29 5.8 9 0 0 0 0 29 5.8
vs Northwestern 22 161 2 159 7.2 37 0 2 4 33 192 7.4
Total 73 460 12 448 6.1 37 0 5 10 90 538 6.5

1000 Yard Update

Halfway through the season we have two leading candidates to reach either 1000 yards receiving or rushing.

-Devine Ozigbo has totalled 448 yards net rushing in six games. He needs 552 yards or 92 yards/game to reach the 1000 yard mark.

-JD Spielman has 537 yards receiving. He needs 77.2 yards/game for the next six games to be the first 1000 yard receiver in Nebraska history.

-Stanley Morgan sits at 393 yards. He needs over 101 yards/game to reach 1000 yards for the season.

As always, if you see something that sparks a question, disagreement, or you spot a “lie” I may have missed, let me know in the comments!