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Numbers, Statistics and Lies: Northwestern Edition

The most impressive statistic from this one might be the combined 739 punting.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Thank goodness for Michigan and Iowa last Saturday because without them, the Battle for NU might have earned the distinction as the B1G-est game of the week. There were 19 punts between the two teams (Huskers -10; Wildcats - 9). Do you remember when we went two or three seasons without forcing Ohio State into a single punt?

OK, I’ll stop dredging up even worse memories.

This was a defensive slog, the likes of which we never expected when Bill Moos hired a young, bright offensive guru to rebuild Husker football. But, if there is one thing that Northwestern excels at, it is dragging you down into the mud and making you wrestle the pig in their slop.

There were 612 yards of total offense between NU and NU and 739 net punting yards.


The abbreviated offensive stats weren’t even the result of a turnover-fest either. Northwestern three one interception. There were three fumbles in the game, but the offense recovered each time. It wasn’t even a sack-fest. Each team only gave up one sack (altogether, those sacks lost three yards). There were some tackles for loss (Nebraska had eight and Northwestern had 10) but altogether those TFL’s drove offenses back 39 yards.

If it wasn’t for Wan’Dale Robinson, Isaac Armstrong would be Nebraska’s offensive MVP.

Color Coded Pile of Numbers

It is tempting to look at the color-coded pile and assume that Nebraska is just an average team all around. There are a couple of things the offense/defense does well, a lot they do okay some of the time and a couple things they clearly don’t do well at all.

Remember, the offense is a unit largely devoid of seniors. We’ve got freshman, sophomore and juniors all trying to find their footing. The defense on the other hand is a senior-laden group finally operating with some consistency in coaching.

Just your friendly reminder that next season at this time, we will be wailing and gnashing our teeth over “WTH happened to Chinander’s guys?” instead of wailing and gnashing our teeth over “WTH happened to Frost’s offense?”

You’re welcome.

When it comes to individual statistics, only Wan’Dale Robinson really stood out. He had 123 receiving yards, 44 rush yards (6.3 yards/carry), and 19 kick return yards for a total of 186 all-purpose yards.

Adrian Martinez was the leading passer (13 of 20 for for 145 yards - 49 of that coming on one play).

Noah Vedral was the second leading rusher for the Huskers (7 carries for 33 yards; 4.7/carry). Those 33 yards were enough to make him the second highest on the team for all-purpose yards too. It was not a good day for the Husker offense against a stout Wildcat D. Injuries surely didn’t help either.

Defensively, Collin Miller tied Mohamed Barry with eight tackles apiece. Ben Stille had a good day starting in place of Khalil Davis as he notched 5 tackles, a half sack. a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry.

Minnesota Color-Coded Pile of Numbers

The UNDEFEATED Minnesota Golden Gophers await the Huskers in the Battle for the Broken Chair (not trademarked by either athletic department of course). Be sure to donate to the cause - all money raised from Nebraska’s fans goes to the Team Jack Foundation. Let’s be sure the athletic department can’t ignore the most awesome trophy we have as a Big Ten team forever!

As you can see below, Minnesota is a decent team who doesn’t make silly mistakes. They are 5-0 against a not-too-difficult schedule (their two conference foes have been Illinois and Purdue and non-conference schedule was South Dakota State, Fresno State and Georgia Southern).

So, the Gophers haven’t played anyone yet? Husker fans have no room to crow since the Gophers can only play what’s on their schedule and they’ve won them all (some nail biters, but still “W’s”).

Remember when Ohio State came to Lincoln and there was a fair bit of “OSU has played a pretty soft schedule so far”. People were still saying that when OSU met Michigan State a week later.

It is up to Nebraska to be sure people aren’t still saying “they ain’t played nobody” when Minnesota meets..../checks Minnesota’s schedule....ummmm....Penn State on November 9. (Yes, Minnesota got both Rutgers (Oct 19) and Maryland (Oct 26) as crossover games with the East. That is part of the reason most of us at CN picked them for a fairly high finish in the West.)

Have a great week Corn Nation!