Shooting Point Blank

It's that time once again, Cornhusker fans. Time to set aside the emotion and look at the cold hard facts with Shooting Point Blank: Statistically Speaking. In this edition, we'll be taking a look at Nebraska's season-to-date statistics due to the bye week and give you some information on Nebraska's upcoming opponent: The Iowa State Cyclones.

Overall Season Statistics:

TEAM STATISTICS NU OPP

--------------------------------------------

SCORING..................... 63 16

Points Per Game............. 21.0 5.3

FIRST DOWNS................. 44 43

Rushing..................... 22 21

Passing..................... 17 18

Penalty..................... 5 4

RUSHING YARDAGE............. 415 238

Yards gained rushing........ 504 430

Yards lost rushing.......... 89 192

Rushing Attempts............ 120 125

Average Per Rush............ 3.5 1.9

Average Per Game............ 138.3 79.3

TDs Rushing................. 2 0

PASSING YARDAGE............. 399 458

Att-Comp-Int................ 89-39-3 2-39-4

Average Per Pass............ 4.5 5.0

Average Per Catch........... 10.2 11.7

Average Per Game............ 133.0 152.7

TDs Passing................. 1 1

TOTAL OFFENSE............... 814 696

Total Plays................. 209 217

Average Per Play............ 3.9 3.2

Average Per Game............ 271.3 232

KICK RETURNS: #-YARDS....... 3-85 11-160

PUNT RETURNS: #-YARDS....... 20-301 6-30

INT RETURNS: #-YARDS........ 4-136 3-41

KICK RETURN AVERAGE......... 28.3 14.5

PUNT RETURN AVERAGE......... 15.1 5.0

INT RETURN AVERAGE.......... 34.0 13.7

FUMBLES-LOST................ 8-3 9-2

PENALTIES-YARDS......... 21-177 16-138

Average Per Game........ 59.0 46.0

PUNTS-YARDS............. 20-895 28-1237

Average Per Punt........ 44.8 44.2

Net punt average........ 41.2 32.0

TIME OF POSSESSION/GAME....... 28:32 31:28

3RD-DOWN CONVERSIONS

...... 13/48 11/51

3rd-Down Pct............. 27% 22%

4TH-DOWN CONVERSIONS

....... 4/7 2/5

4th-Down Pct................ 57% 40%

SACKS BY-YARDS..........20-149 7-38

MISC YARDS............. 30 3

TOUCHDOWNS SCORED.......... 7 1

FIELD GOALS-ATTEMPTS....... 5-7 3-7

PAT-ATTEMPTS......... 6-7 1-1

ATTENDANCE.................... 232185

Games/Avg Per Game.......... 3/77395

That first like looks pretty satisfying to know that Nebraska is currently outscoring their opposition by a ratio of 21 to 5.3. Still, 21 points per game can and will lose you some ballgames and we'll get into that a little more with the offensive projections thus far. Nebraska averages approximately 15 first downs per game which is pretty good on the whole, but still an area that needs a bit of a bump, in my opinion.

Nebraska 3.5 per rush average is technically adequate as it would net Nebraska 14 yards after 4 downs, but still, this is an area that needs to see improvement mostly due to blocking by the offensive line as many of us well know by this point.

Passing hasn't exactly been lighting up the scoreboard with a paltry 133 yard per game, three interceptions and only one touchdown to speak of. Also, in news that will absolutely shock you, by even looking at the numbers, Nebraska simply is not getting it done offensively. Putting up 271 yards per game sticks NU at the bottom rung when it comes to offenses and the defense can't keep pulling their backsides out of the fire, again, we all know this. Luckily, with the bye week, the ones and have had some time with the ones and who better to go up against than the number one scoring defense in America?

Kick returns aren't too shabby with a 28.3 yard per return average putting Nebraska at least 8 more yards in front of where they would be via kickoff or muffed catch. Punt returns are absolutely outstanding with Nebraska averaging an entire field's length per game thus far through the season. The interception return average is almost comical with 34 yards per return.

While Nebraska has coughed the ball up 8 times, they've only given it away three and it appears that the problem has been somewhat remedied thus far. Penalties have been a bit of an issue but I have my own personal opinions about that statistic that I won't get into at this point.

Sam Koch is currently averaging 44.8 yards per punt and about one school record shattered every game and a half, so that's not too bad. Improvement needs to be made on consistency and Sam can easily be called one of the best punters in the nation.

With a third down conversion percentage of 27%, this is a statistic that, again, can be attributed to poor offensive line blocking, but not just that. It's also the poor timing of throws and dropping of catches, but this is probably starting to sound like a broken record at this point, so we'll move on.

Jordan Congdon isn't doing too bad as a true freshman starter going 5-7 in his first three games and the Cornhusker fans keep coming out in droves averaging 77,395 in attendance.

Individual Statistics (Offense):

Rushing:

Cory Ross: 72 rushes for 381 yards, 4.9 yards per rush one touchdown. Long: 57 yards. Game Average: 118.7

Marlon Lucky: 16 rushes for 47 yards, 2.7 yards per rush Long: 8. Game Average: 14.3

Brandon Jackson: 12 rushes for 27 yards, 2.1 per rush. Long: 8. Game Average: 8.3

Cody Glenn: 4 rushes for 20 yards, 5 yards per rush, Long: 7. Game Average: 20.0

Tierre Green: 1 rush for 8 yards, 8 yards per rush. Long: 8. Game Average: 2.7

Mike Stuntz: 1 rush for 4 yards, 4 yards per rush. Long: 4. Game Average: 2.0

Zac Taylor: 11 rushes for 17 yards, -1.9 yards per rush, one touchdown. Long: 10. Game Average: -7.0

Comments:

Okay, can anyone guess who the captain is in this group? Cory Ross came back against Pitt in a big way and it shows as, through three games, he has nearly a 5.0 per rush average and puts up nearly 119 yards per game. Marlon has had moments where his numbers would be much higher than they are and with Cody Glenn on the scene, the workhorse role may switch from Brandon to the true freshman. Also, kudos for the rush by Taylor. Maybe he's not so immobile after all.

Passing:

Zac Taylor: Efficiency rating: 78.44. 89 attempts, 39 complete, one touchdown, three interceptions. Completion percentage: 43.8 percent. Total yards: 399. Long: 73. Game Average: 133 yards.

Comments:

Looking at Zac's statistics alone might make you pretty upset if that's all you look at (which, isn't that what this column is for?). However, let me interject that there are some things that do not show up on the stat sheet that Taylor should be given credit for. His headiness in not taking a safety or diving for a touchdown. His learned ability to take a sack and live another day than throw the ball away for a pick. There is much learning to do with Zac, but he's making progress. Now he just has to do it in the areas that show up here.

Receiving:

Frantz Hardy: 13 catches for 196 yards. 15.1 yards per catch with one touchdown. Long: 73. Game Average: 65.3 yards

Terrence Nunn: 6 catches for 82 yards. 13.7 yards per catch. Long: 36. Game Average: 27.3 yards

Cory Ross: 6 catches for 30 yards. 5 yards per catch. Long: 10. Game Average: 10 yards

Clayton Sievers: 4 catches for 22. 5.5 yards per catch. Long: 10. Game Average: 7.3 yards

J.B. Phillips: 4 catches for 15. 3.8 yards per catch. Long: 6. Game Average: 5 yards

Grant Mulkey: 3 catches for 40 yards. 13.3 yards per catch. Long: 25. Game Average: 13.3

Mark LeFlore: 1 catch for 8 yards. 8 yards per catch. Long: 8. Game Average: 4 yards

Brandon Jackson: 1 catch 5 yards. 5 yards per catch. Long: 5. Game Average: 1.7 yards

Dane Todd: 1 catch for 1 yard. 1 yard per catch. Long: 1. Game Average: 0.3

Comments:

Kind of speaks for itself, doesn't it? I guess if we can take something positive from all this it is that everyone is getting involved. Wide receivers, tight ends, runningbacks, fullbacks, everyone gets a shot, but with shoddy blocking, you're not going to succeed on a screen and with poor route running and dropped passes, you're not going to excel in the passing game. Coach Gilmore? Work some magic.

Individual Statistics (Defense):

Corey McKeon: 17 solo tackles, 9 assisted, 26 total. 6 tackles for loss for 18 yards. 3 sacks for 13 yards. 1 interception returned 38 yards. 1 forced fumble. 1 touchdown. 1 pass breakup

Dan Bullocks: 12 solo tackles, 8 assisted, 20 total. 3 tackles for loss for 7 yards. 2 pass breakups. 1 forced fumble. 1 fumble recovery for 30 yards. 1 touchdown.

Bo Ruud: 6 solo tackles, 11 assisted, 17 total. 2 tackles for loss for 6 yards. .5 sacks for 3 yards. 1 interception for 27 yards. 1 touchdown. 1 pass breakup. 3 quarterback hurries. 1 fumble recovery

Stewart Bradley: 5 solo tackles, 10 assisted, 15 total. 4 tackles for loss for 18 yards. 2 sacks for 16 yards. 1 interception for 43 yards. 1 touchdown. 3 quarterback hurries.

Blake Tiedtke: 8 solo tackles, 7 assisted, 15 total. 1 tackle for loss for 5 yards. 1 sack for 5 yards. 1 interception for 28 yards

Adam Carriker: 9 solo tackles, 4 assisted, 13 total. 7 tackles for loss for 53 yards. 5 sacks for 48 yards. 2 pass breakups. 2 quarterback hurries.

Wali Muhammad: 7 solo tackles, 4 assisted, 11 total. 6 tackles for loss for 36 yards. 4 sacks for 33 yards.

Cortney Grixby: 6 solo tackles, 4 assisted, 10 total. 3 pass breakups. 1 forced fumble.

Tierre Green: 3 solo tackles, 7 assisted, 10 total. 1 pass breakup.

Ola Dagunduro: 5 solo tackles, 4 assisted, 9 total. 2 tackles for loss for 3 yards. 1 pass breakup. 1 quarterback hurry.

Titus Adams: 4 solo tackles, 4 assisted, 8 total. 1 tackle for loss for 7 yards. 1 sack for 7 yards. 1 pass breakup.

Adam Ickes: 3 solo tackles, 4 assisted, 7 total. 2 tackles for loss for 5 yards. 1 blocked kick.

Le Kevin Smith: 5 solo tackles, 2 assisted, 7 total. 3 tackles for loss for 14 yards. 2 sacks for 12 yards. 2 quarterback hurries.

Joey Robison: 2 solo tackles, 5 assisted, 7 total.

Jay Moore: 5 solo tackles, 2 assisted, 7 total. 2 tackles for loss for 6 yards. 0.5 sacks for 3 yards. 1 quarterback hurry. 1 forced fumble.

Andrew Shanle: 1 solo tackle, 4 assisted, 5 total. 1 pass breakup.

Phillip Dillard:3 tackles, 1 assisted, 4 total. 1 tackle for loss for 2 yards.

Brandon Rigoni: 1 tackle, 3 assisted, 4 total

Steve Octavien: 3 solo tackles, 1 assisted, 4 total. 2 tackles for loss for 5 yards.

Barry Turner: 4 solo tackles, 4 total. 1 tackle for loss for 9 yards. 1 sack for 9 yards. 1 quarterback hurry.

Zack Bowman: 3 tackles, 3 total. 2 pass breakups.

Barry Cryer: 1 solo tackle, 2 assisted, 3 total. 2 tackles for loss for 2 yards. 1 quarterback hurry.

Ben Eisenhart: 3 assisted tackles, 3 total.

Ty Steinkuhler: 1 solo tackle, 2 assisted, 3 total. 1 tackle for loss

Tyler Fisher: 2 solo tackles, 2 total. 1 pass breakup.

Dontrell Moore: 1 solo tackle, 1 total.

Zach Potter: 1 assisted tackle, 1 total. 1 blocked kick.

Ndamukong Suh: 1 assisted tackle, 1 total.

Mike Stuntz: 1 assisted tackle, 1 total.

Kurt Mann: 1 solo tackle, 1 total

Zac Taylor: 1 solo tackle, 1 total.

Sam Koch: 1 solo tackle, 1 total.

Andy Kadavy: 1 pass breakup.

Comments:

The Nebraska Blackshirts are kind of like a flag football team at this point. Everybody gets to play. It doesn't take much to see that the starting linebackers and Defensive Captain Daniel Bullocks appear to be leading the charge 3 games in, but other members of the squad are contributing well.

Cortney Grixby has been covering most of his men like shade and Tierre Green is coming along nicely. Adam Ickes and Zach Potter both have blocked kicks to their name and linemen are causing pass break ups. Sure, the competition hasn't been stellar, but if nothing else the past three games have provided confidence and team chemistry and I don't care what Barry Switzer said, it takes a lot more than either X's and O's or Jimmies and Joes to win football games.

Individual Statistics (Special Teams):

Kicking:

Jordan Congdon: 5-7 overall. 71.4 percent success. Distances: 1-19: 0-0. 20-29: 3-4. 30-39: 2-3. 40-49: 0-0. 50-59: 0-0. Long: 38 yards. It appears that Jordan is coming into his own as a true freshman starter and I've been impressed with both his leg and his ability to pick himself up when he misses. Truly, he has a good head on his shoulders and I think that by the time he leaves Nebraska, he will be remembered fondly.

Punting:

Sam Koch:

20 punts for 895. Average: 44.8 yards Long: 84 yards. 2 touchbacks. 11 inside the 20 yard line. As mentioned previously, even when Sam does shank a punt, he comes back and writes his name in the school record book. Again. Just FYI? Sam actually has a better overall punting average than the past three punters combined and they had the absolute beast from Wake Forest on their side.

Punt Returns:

Cortney Grixby: 12 returns for 86 yards. Average per return: 7.2 yards. Long: 15 yards. Terrence Nunn: 7 returns for 213 yards. Average per return: 30.4 yards. Long: 62 yards.

Okay, so maybe Terrence is having some trouble with catching the ball, but when it comes to running it past a coverage team, this appears to be his forte. Still, Grixby is coachable and should he stop trying to juke all the time (hey, it worked for Cory), maybe he can catch up in this race, but right now? It's a one horse race.

Kick Returns:

Tierre Green: 3 returns for 85 yards. Average per return: 28.3 yards. Long: 43.

He can do it all, folks! He can play cornerback, runningback and even return a kick or two. With a pretty impressive average, that's just more yardage Nebraska doesn't have to cover on the way to pay dirt so a pat on the back to Mr. Everything, Tierre Green.

2005 Season Report Card:

Quarterbacks: C Runningbacks: B Wide Receivers: F Offensive Linemen: D- Defensive Linemen: A+ Linebackers: A+ Defensive Backs: B Special Teams: A-

Well now that we've thoroughly dissected the season through three games like a frog in biology class, let's have a look at Nebraska's next opponent, the Iowa State Cyclones:

- Currently, Iowa State is ranked 57th in the country in scoring, 72nd in rushing, 53rd in passing and 71st in total yardage. On defense, they rank 12th in scoring defense, 57th against the run, 8th against the pass and 44th overall.

- Nebraska currently ranks 81st in the country in scoring, 62nd in rushing, 110th in passing and 108th in total yardage. On defense, they rank 1st in scoring defense, 3rd in pass defense, 15th in rush defense and 9th overall.

- Iowa State Quarterback Bret Meyer ranks 45th in pass efficiency with a 135.20 rating. He also ranks 43rd in total offense per game with 243 yards.

- Runningback Stevie Hicks ranks 25th in rushing with 104 yards per game.

- Wide Receiver David Blythe ranks 75th in receiving yards with 64.5 yards per game.

- Punter Troy Blankenship ranks 24th in punting yardage per game with 43.15

- In 1976, Iowa State finished 19th in the final AP Poll and 25th in 2000. Also in 2000, they were ranked 23rd in the USA Today Coaches' Poll.

- Iowa State has appeared in eight bowl games dating back to 1971 when they faced LSU. Their most recent bowl was a win over Miami (OH) in the Independence Bowl.

- The Cyclones have two members in the College Football Hall of Fame. Former Offensive Guard Edward John Bock who played from 1936-1938 was inducted in 1970. Coach Earle Bruce was inducted in 2002 and coached the Cyclones between 1972 and 1992.

- ISU claims three consensus All-Americans with Ed Bock in 1938, Tight End Mike Busch in 1989 and Runningback Troy Davis named twice in 1995 and 1996.

- The Cyclones also claim four Academic All-Americans with Defensive Back Max Burkett in 1952, Linebacker Mark Carlson in 1982, Linebacker Dave Brcka in 1999 and Defensive Lineman Jordan Carstens in 2002.

Questions and comments can be sent to Blankman71@cox.net


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