For anyone new to Numbers, Statistics and Lies, we are looking at basic stats. There is nothing “advanced” about my analysis. I give you an idea where the Huskers rank in the conference and in FBS in terms of several team metrics. I then pick out a couple of numbers that stand out, examine the statistics that go with them and decide if the numbers are lying to us or not.
As always, if you see things differently or pick out something I didn’t, put it in the comments!
Color Coded Pile of Numbers
It is way too early in the season to figure out where this team will end up, but we can see a couple of things to watch as the next few games unfold.
The offense was pretty good at putting up yards on the ground, especially in the middle of the field. They stalled a bit in the red zone. Turnovers can skew that but only one Husker turnover was in the red zone. There are a lot of reasons you see this, but it often comes down to offenses that are one-dimensional or have some limitation that prevents them from using the entire field. As a Broncos fan who watched Trevor Siemian unable to complete passes in the middle of the field for two seasons, I understand “limited” offenses too well.
For the Huskers, I’m going to chalk it up to new coaches, new system and freshman quarterback. The coaches and players are still feeling out what they do well, figuring out timing, and calling plays that fit the personnel. I’m not worried, yet.
The defense was the mirror image of the offense. The Blackshirts gave up a fair number of yards to Colorado, almost exclusively through the air. However, they improved in the red zone. Unless one or more cornerbacks steps up or one of the youngsters develops quickly, the pass defense could continue to be a sore spot. To be honest, we may not see a receiver like Lavis Shenault again all season (I hope) but there will be talented enough wideouts to make the Huskers pay in this area unless we see some development or scheming in this area.
Special teams appears to be an issue all around. For now, I’m going to assume that Coach Frost and staff can only fix so many things at one time. Even a few small adjustments that get some of those numbers close to average will be welcomed as the season moves along.
Numbers - Statistics - Lies I
Number: 7 and 12
Statistic: The Huskers rank first in the nation after recording seven sacks and second in the nation with 12 tackles for loss (per game basis).
Lie: Hide the quarterbacks and children. The Blackshirts live in the backfield!
Ok, this one might end up being truth. It is just too early to tell if Erik Chinander has uncovered skills that the previous staff missed or if this was just a one-game wonder. Either way, wasn’t it great watching Steven Montez on the ground while Huskers celebrated? I really missed seeing that last year. #ThanksDiaco. The Huskers are already halfway to their sack production for the entire 2017 season after only one game.
I hope we continue to see this production as it will only help protect the secondary while they gel and develop.
Numbers - Statistics - Lies II
Statistic: Nebraska ranks third in all of FBS and first in the B1G in rushing offense after putting up 329 yards on the ground (and 565 total yards) on the Buffaloes.
Lie: The Pipeline Is Back!
Like most Husker fans, I enjoyed watching Nebraska winning the battles (mostly) at the line of scrimmage. Colorado has a good defensive line, so this wasn’t like the Huskers were facing scrubs. I think it is safe to say that this o-line is going to put forth a superior product than 2017 (I told you that I wasn’t going to give you advanced analysis!!) but I plan to reserve judgment until we have seen another offseason or two of Greg Austin’s coaching and Zach Duval’s strength program before I am ready to proclaim the return of one of the great Husker traditions.
Math Teachers Rejoice
- Shoutout to the d-line and rush defense. Holding Colorado to 44 yards on the ground has the Huskers ranked fourth in all of FBS for rush defense. Nebraska linebackers were flying around the field and the defensive line was winning their battles in the trenches.
- The Nebraska rushing offense not only put up over 300 yards, but averaged 6.1 yards/attempt. #RUNTHEDAMNBALL guy lit a candle on the Mike Rozier alter in the man cave.
- Last year, one of the few bright spots was keeping track of Stanley Morgan, Jr. and J.D. Spielman’s season stats and how tantalizingly close Morgan came to being the first Husker to break the 1000 yard receiving barrier. I don’t expect numbers like those again, but I’m going to keep track for now. Morgan accounted for 75 receiving yards. If he keeps up that pace over an 11 game season, he will reach 825 yards. Spielman posted 67 yards which would put him at 737 total yards this season. If the Huskers manage to make up the Akron game and play a full regular season slate, and if things really go well and they make a bowl game...who knows?
- As far as potential 1000 yard rushers, Adrian Martinez accounted for 138 yards, Greg Bell for 105 yards, Devine Ozigbo for 61 yards, and Maurice Washington for 36 yards. Extrapolated out to an 11 game season, they would post 1,518, 1,155, 671, and 396 yards respectively. Just as with the receivers, this is going to fluctuate wildly throughout the year, but that is what the single data point we have currently tells us. Obviously, Martinez's knee injury will play a big factor in this fluctuation.
- Nebraska ran 83 offensive plays compared to Colorado’s 85. I originally looked up this number because I wanted to see the huge advantage our fast new offense held. It was fast, but when you turn the ball over to the other team a bunch, they get to run offensive plays instead of you getting to run offensive plays. #IToldYouThereWouldBeNoAdvancedAnalysis
What say you Corn Nation? What other numbers and stats stood out? Do you agree with my lies/truth? Let me know in the comments.