Over/Under for Nebraska: Offense

It's unfair for people to paint this year's Nebraska team with a broad brush and say that this team can't win the North. It's also uninformed to say that the Nebraska offense, defense and special teams won't be improved simply because of personnel and another year in the system. What can be expected of this year's team though?

Many have asked, what number do we need to hit to be successful when it comes to throwing the ball? How many yards? Touchdowns? Interceptions? Well, today is your lucky day sports fans because Big Red Report breaks down by offense, defense and special teams the numbers that it needs to hit by telling you the over/under number.

I am not a betting man, other than playing a little Texas Hold-'Em, but I know how over/under works. What I will do is give my projection on what I think the season record will be and then the major statistical projections to hit that win-loss record.

2004 actual W-L: 5-6
2005 projected W-L: 8-5

Nebraska did not have the type of season that really anyone expected by losing games that they shouldn't have and then losing games just very badly. This year I really only see two games that I feel can be chalked up as losses, more than likely. Those two games are Texas Tech and Oklahoma. I am not sold on Oklahoma, but I believe athletically they are still a better team and will get better as the season goes along this season. I believe then that Nebraska will lose one of the games to Colorado or Missouri, lose one we probably shouldn't and then lose to Texas in the Big XII Championship Game.

Passing Statistics

2004 actual passing yards/game: 186.9
2005 projected passing yards/game: 250

Nebraska just couldn't make anyone fear their passing ability last year. It was simply a situation of trying to let Nebraska put a square peg in a round hole. This year will be different. There have been upgrades made to the team at the quarterback, wide receiver, running back and the wide receiver coaching positions. The biggest question mark here is tight end and offensive line play. As long as Taylor has a chance to get 2.5-3 seconds in the pocket he should be able to make this offense work.

2004 actual TD/Int. ratio: 17/23
2005 projected TD/Int. ratio: 26/10

I would like to see around eight interceptions this year, but I will settle for the moon this year. I believe that a chance to have a quarterback capable of making smarter decisions and who knows a little bit more about reading a defense gives us an advantage that we didn't have last year. I also believe that you have more experience and talent at the receiver positions and could see a larger role for the running backs in the passing game.

2004 actual completion %: 48.4
2005 projected completion %: 64

I had a heck of a time trying to come up with a number here and used some information that I had heard about the way that Taylor was performing in practice, but also went and modeled the offensive numbers after some teams that I believe that this year's Nebraska squad could resemble. I believe that this is a number that can not fall short of the goal. This number isn't as important as what you see folded into it like third and fourth down conversions. If we are not right about the mid-60% range in completion percentage then this number could have the biggest effect on the possible outcome of the season.

Rushing Statistics

2004 actual rushing yards/game: 176.3
2005 projected rushing yards/game: 220

I just can't imagine what Nebraska's record might have looked like had Cory Ross not played as well being as injured and banged up as he was last year. 5-6 was a blessing. Lucky, Glenn and a healthy Jackson will provide Ross with some much needed help in the backfield to carry the load. 220 yards per game isn't something that Nebraska fans would be used to predicting, but they wouldn't be used to only getting about 175 a contest like last year or 250 yards passing like I predict this year either. Ross will be this year's team MVP, again, but will get some necessary help back there that wasn't there last year.

2004 actual rushing touchdowns: 18
2005 predicted rushing touchdowns: 34

I expect that this number will almost double. This is mostly because of the improvements made in personnel at the running back, but also with an effective passing game it will open up the run. You need threats at the passing game to be effective in running the football. Much like the passing numbers this number will be largely affected not by the rushing game or directly by the passing game, but by the ability of the offensive line to move piles and make holes for the running game.

2004 offensive MVP: Cory Ross, RB
2005 projected offensive MVP: Cory Ross, RB

2004 offensive newcomer: Terrence Nunn, WR
2005 offensive newcomer: Zac Taylor, QB

2004 offensive freshman MVP: Terrence Nunn, WR
2005 offensive freshman MVP: Marlon Lucky, RB

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