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Numbers, Statistics and Lies: Wisconsin Edition

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A reeling Husker team will face a resurgent group of Badgers. What does Nebraska need to do for the upset?

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

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.

It is hard to figure out what stats to throw at you this week. An important one is four.

Scott Frost gutted his offensive staff and four of them cleaned out their offices. The offense has been the problem side of the ball all season, but they have always played hard and never folded after mistakes.

Will this change help a dysfuncional part of the team? Or will it be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and leads to a complete meltdown? The players get closest to their position coaches. Even if those of us on the outside can see a coach is underperforming, the players in the gym and on the field see a lot more than we do. The offensive line especially took the news about their coach especially hard and Nebraska is not playing for anything more than the chance to finally get the upset that has eluded them all season.

I tend to believe these players are too locked in as competitors to give anything less than maximum effort, but the grind of all of these losses and the turmoil around the football offices has to take some kind of toll.

Color Coded Pile of Numbers - Nebraska

Color Coded Pile of Numbers - Wisconsin

Yes, you are seeing that right. The Badger defense is top shelf in the nation in every category I included in the pile. They are the #1 defense in the country if you go by total yards. They are the #2 defense in the contry if you go by total points. Nebraska’s hot/cold offense if going to have a tall task on Saturday.

Even when you look at the Badger offense, the color-coded pile doesn’t tell the whole story. Wisconsin had a miserable offense early in the season, but they are getting things figured out. Graham Mertz is finding just enough success to keep defenses honest and the running game hasn’t missed a beat despite the turnover in guys he hands the ball to. In my opinion, the Blackshirts are going to have to generate some turnovers (and possibly score some points) for Nebraska to stay in this one. Nebraska’s explosive offense is likely to find a big play somewhere in this game, but they are likely to possess the ball for only 25 (or less) minutes in this game.

So, what do you see in the numbers? Let me know in the comments!