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Numbers, Statistics and Lies: Northwestern Edition

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The numbers are lying to us in at least one place on offense.

Nebraska v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Well, that was a game where we’d really rather not review that statistics, wasn’t it?

Offense

Without looking at statistics, it was common belief that this was the worst game Adrian Martinez played as a Husker. His accuracy was way off and his decision-making was slow and erratic. He was visibly upset on the sidelines. The coaches pulling the plug and inserting Luke McCaffrey in the fourth quarter offered a bit of a spark, but it remains to be seen how things will play out going forward.

  • Nebraska averaged more yards per carry (5.2) than when they dropped back to pass (4.8). Ouch.
  • Adrian Martinez was again Nebraska’s leading rusher (102 yards; 7.8 ypc). He may be indecisive in the pass game right now, but he is making solid choices in the run game.
  • One joke was that with 45 interception return yards, Myles Farmer was Nebraska’s leading receiver. That is not entirely true as Marcus Fleming hauled in 75 yards (5 receptions) but it was definitely another frustrating day through the air for Nebraska. Eight players caught passes; five receivers, two tight ends and one back.
  • The Husker offense ran 88 plays to 65 for Northwestern. I only pretend to do math in this article, but even I can figure out that 13 points in 88 plays is pretty bad.

Overall, the Huskers are averaging >five yards/carry in the run game through the first two games. I think we can all agree that the stats are lying to us a bit there. Dedrick Mills and the other backs are having a hard time finding openings while most of the damage on the ground is coming from the QB run game. Without a solid pass threat, defenses are just hanging around waiting for the running backs.

Defense

I feel obliged to start this section with “WE SEE YOU LUKE REIMER!” The sophomore linebacker was everywhere making plays on Saturday and finished with 10 tackles (seven solo), one forced fumble, 1.5 tackles for loss, and the Blackshirts’ lone sack.

Of course shoutout #2 needs to go to Myles Farmer who snagged two interceptions in his first ever start as a Husker. His second INT is the likely reason the Husker offense was even able to score a touchdown as he returned it deep into Northwestern territory and the offense only had to cover 14 yards for the score.

My last shoutout is to the entire Blackshirt defense. They held their ground on at least three occasions and forced Northwestern to attempt field goals. The Wildcats missed all three. Imagine the misery of Husker fans if the Wildcats get those field goals, or worse, managed touchdowns on those possessions instead?

Color-Coded pile

I continue to put this here even as I stress it means little in some areas because of the varying amount of games teams have played.

Mostly, it reinforces the fact that the passing game is in trouble and the pass defense still has some holes.

Shhhh...we’re not talking about special teams.

Penn State

We are facing an 0-3 team that started the season highly ranked and with visions of a college football playoff. We’ve been saying things like ‘Nebraska better figure this out soon’ for too long for me to think it will come together this magical week. Penn State is talented and they are going to be motivated.