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Numbers, Statistics and Lies: Week 6

We revel in the Northwestern game one more time but turn our sights toward the Wolverines and a challenging game for the Huskers this weekend

Northwestern v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

NSL is a weekly dive into statistics. This is not advanced stats; only basic stuff that is cherry-picked based on my whims this week. The numbers the chicken entrails point to carefully selected for further analysis are compared to the eye test. About that ‘eye test’, you should know that I usually forget to DVR the games and even when I do, I have so much stuff going on that I don’t have time to rewatch them. I also think I might need glasses. You’ve been warned.

This is where I would normally expound upon some statistics from the previous game that caught my eye. This game was so ridiculous, that I decided to spend the time on graphs and previewing Michigan instaed. So, here’s the highlights and a couple of tweets.

  • An 84 yard punt. With only one punt in the game, the Huskers averaged 84 yards/punt. What’s more amazing, my math skills or that punt? (Hint: It’s definitely the punt.)
  • The Wildcats netted 37 yards rushing and 1.4 yards/carry.
  • The Huskers had four penalties for 19 yards and Northwestern had six penalties for 53 yards. I suspect it is a rare NU-NU game in which Northwestern commits more penalties than Nebraska.
  • The Wildcats possessed the ball for all of 2:26 in the fourth quarter.

Two comments, re: the stop rate tweet above.

  1. Wooo! Blackshirts!
  2. How ridiculous is Georgia’s defense to be almost 8% better at making stops than the #2 defense?

Here’s what Nebraska’s points/play has looked like so far this season.

More Graphs!

Note on offensive and defensive rankings - this is one where being closer to the bottom of the graph is better.

Ever since the meltdown vs Illinois, the rush defense (blue line) has been steadily improving their ranking. They will face a pretty big test vs Michigan this weekend.

Field position could be a big difference-maker against the Wolverines. We’ll see if Oliver Martin gets the green light to do anything besides fair catch this weekend.

The Huskers have been putting up yards (yellow, blue and red lines) but not getting the points to show for it - until last weekend. I expect a low-scoring contest vs the Wolverines.

(Above) The Huskers are running the ball 64% of the time and passing 36%. RUNTHEDANGBALL fans are happy. (Below) The Huskers are getting 47% of their offensive yards by running the ball and 53% from passing. I honestly don’t know how that compares to previous years or to other FBS teams. I’ll play with that a bit this week.

Color-Coded Pile of Numbers

Even after allowing zero sacks of Adrian Martinez (or Smothers or Masker), the Huskers are still ranked poorly. Michigan’s defense is pretty good at getting sacks. The newly reconfigured offensive line will be tested this weekend for sure.

Another area of concern is Nebraska’s propensity to fumble and Michigan’s ability to recover them.

Michigan Wolverines

Michigan is going to want to run the ball. They don’t pass for a lot of yards, but they are effective when they do. Their starting offense has yet to turn the ball over at all this season. That is really impressive.

They are also pretty good at special teams. I really really hope this game doesn’t come down to the third phase, because I don’t think that will go Nebraska’s way.

What do you notice in the numbers this week? Let me know in the comments!