Statistically Speaking versus Iowa State

As the fans slowly crawled out of Memorial Stadium this past weekend, they were bombarded by new numbers on every corner of the stadium. Today, we take a look behind the numbers and see how the Cornhuskers fared in what can easily be called their best overall performance of the year, statistically speaking, of course.

                                    ISU       NU
FIRST DOWNS...................       21       26
  Rushing.....................        5        1
  Passing.....................       12       24
  Penalty.....................        4        1
NET YARDS RUSHING.............       57       36
  Rushing Attempts............       38       25
  Average Per Rush............      1.5      1.4
  Yards Gained Rushing........      112       75
  Yards Lost Rushing..........       55       39
NET YARDS PASSING.............      317      431
  Completions-Attempts-Int....  23-41-1  36-55-0
  Average Per Attempt.........      7.7      7.8
  Average Per Completion......     13.8     12.0
TOTAL OFFENSE YARDS...........      374      467
  Total offense plays.........       79       80
  Average Gain Per Play.......      4.7      5.8
Fumbles: Number-Lost..........      1-0      1-1
Penalties: Number-Yards.......     4-34     8-80
PUNTS-YARDS...................    6-266    4-162
  Average Yards Per Punt......     44.3     40.5
  Net Yards Per Punt..........     32.7     37.8
  Inside 20...................        0        2
  50+ Yards...................        2        1
  Touchbacks..................        0        1
  Fair catch..................        0        0
KICKOFFS-YARDS................    4-260    4-241
  Average Yards Per Kickoff...     65.0     60.2
  Net Yards Per Kickoff.......     50.5     52.2
  Touchbacks..................        2        1
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD.   1-11-0   5-70-0
  Average Per Return..........     11.0     14.0
Kickoff returns: Number-Yds-TD   2-32-0   2-58-0
  Average Per Return..........     16.0     29.0
Interceptions: Number-Yds-TD..    0-0-0    1-6-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yds-TD.    0-0-0    0-0-0
Miscellaneous Yards...........        0        0
Possession Time...............    31:38    28:22
  1st Quarter.................     4:33    10:27
  2nd Quarter.................     9:56     5:04
  3rd Quarter.................     9:05     5:55
  4th Quarter.................     8:04     6:56
  OT  Quarter.................     0:00     0:00
Third-Down Conversions........  7 of 19  5 of 14
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   1 of 2   0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      3-6      2-4
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     2-20     6-43
PAT Kicks.....................      2-2      3-3
Field Goals...................      2-3      2-3

Looking immediately at the first down category, I am both pleased and disappointed. While Nebraska managed to get well past my weekly goal of 20 first downs in a game, so did Iowa State.

These are always difficult games to plan for because typically you have a quality quarterback as you did in Bret Meyer, at least one strong wide receiver such as Todd Blythe (and ISU had a few more) plus even though Stevie Hicks played minimally, his backup played very well and had the holes to do so. However, if you'll take note, four of ISU's first downs were off of penalties whereas only one of Nebraska's 26 first downs was.

If you're looking for rushing yardage, you're not going to find it here. Not to say that this is necessarily a bad thing considering once we drop down to the passing numbers, we'll have a lot to talk about but these were simply two teams who could not successfully run the football on each other.

Speaking of passing, Zac Taylor came out and shattered Joe Dailey's old mark for passing by going 36 of 55 for 431 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. In a game marked by many as the "make or break" game for this offense, a premise which I found rather laughable, Zac did, indeed, show why he was chosen to come to Nebraska. At one point, he connected on seven straight passes and completed at least one to ten different receivers. So, in a nutshell for Zac: two passing records broken, two touchdowns and no picks. That's a good game.

Third down is still an area in which Nebraska struggles. Not necessarily due to lack of production but rather the situations they put themselves in. Sure, on PS2, no doubt one could formulate something rather simply, but in the real game, 3rd and 13 is obviously a less than ideal situation. This is an issue that comes back to the offensive line in both long and short yardage situations however, Cory Ross does share some of the problem as he was unable to pick up a few needed blocks. Still, this is an area of improvement and as Nebraska has shown, they can and will improve.

Nebraska had been struggling in the red zone so when the game went into overtime, I know a number of people were concerned about the Cornhuskers dealing with a short field. Interestingly enough, I believe NU has broken through yet another mental barrier as Taylor scored his two touchdowns within the red zone and the MidWest Coast Offense appears to be clicking fairly well.

It was a sack party that I didn't really think would happen as the wily and mobile Bret Meyer was brought down in many different ways. There were coverage sacks, straight up blitzes, really a fantastic game plan called in terms of the blitz and use of the defensive linemen by Coach Cosgrove.

The defensive backs showed their youth and inexperience, plus it's never fun covering a guy that can catch the ball, fall forward and give you 2nd and 3. Still, Tierre keeps his head up as one of the more difficult passing attacks in the conference comes to town and I believe Grixby's confidence is not a false one. Zac Bowman made a few impressive plays so I expect his play time to increase along with his own self-assurance in his play. Still, the bottom line is that the defensive backs will have to isolate the Texas Tech wide receivers along with the linebackers to aid in any eventual sacks or turnovers on Cody Hodges' part.

Individual Statistics (Offense):


Cory Ross: 15 rushes for 32 yards, one touchdown, long of six, 2.1 yard per carry

Terrence Nunn: One rush for four yards, long of four, 4.0 yards per carry

Zac Taylor: 7 rushes for 2 yards, long of 20, 0.3 yards per rush.


If you can imagine a 1920s Irish cop here for a second saying "Show's over, nothin' ta see here, folks, move along.", then that's pretty accurate. There wasn't a lot of rushing over the course of the game and there really didn't have to be. Cory was able to plug one into the end zone when he needed to and, hard as it might be to believe for those of you not in attendance, that six yard run was more impressive than the numbers might lead you to believe.


Zac Taylor: 36 of 55 for 431 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, a long of 70 yards and two sacks.


Those first and second numbers? Nebraska school records. Zac had the time to make these throws, so a tip of the cap goes to the offensive line in that regard, but more so he was accurate, his throws were laser-guided and just as quick. There was less of an instance of him over or under throwing a ball (not saying it didn't happen folks, just saying it happened a lot less). A great way to start out conference play for the young man from Norman and a great way to cement his name in the Nebraska record books.


Cory Ross: 8 receptions for 131 yards, two touchdowns with a long of 70

Terrence Nunn: 8 receptions for 59 with a long of 16

Nate Swift: 5 receptions for 81 yards with a long of 31

Grant Mulkey: 5 receptions for 60 yards with a long of 20

Isaiah Fluellen: 3 receptions for 40 with a long of 16

Mark LeFlore: 2 receptions for 23 yards with a long of 12

Frantz Hardy: 2 receptions for 20 yards with a long of 12

Clayton Sievers: 1 reception for six yards

Dane Todd: 1 reception for six yards

J.B. Phillips: 1 reception for five yards


So, if Cory can't run successfully, he decides to break a school record with 131 yards (most ever by a running back, sorry, Jeff Kinney) along with notching two touchdowns for his efforts. Ross struggled some with catches before, but I somehow think Coach Gilmore had a sit down with him and viola.

Terrence Nunn made his presence felt and a newcomer into the spotlight. One Nathan Swift from Minnesota appears to be a newly-found weapon for the Cornhusker passing game. Grant Mulkey played his usual sure-handed game and even Isaiah Fluellen and Mark LeFlore got their groove on a bit getting into the action.

Overall, this bunch showed a lot of ability and poise during this game and hey, you can't break a passing record without some quality play from your wide receiving corps, so a standing O as well to the men snagging the pigskin.

Individual Statistics (Defense):


Corey McKeon: 2 sacks for 18 yards

Stewart Bradley: 1 sack for 9 yards (and a hit that'll knock out some teeth)

Ola Dagunduro: 1 sack for 6 yards

Jay Moore: 1 sack for 6 yards

Barry Turner: 1 sack for 4 yards:


Corey McKeon again proves that he is not to be denied when it comes to putting the fear of God into quarterbacks and the hit Stewart Bradley laid on Meyer had to register as a very small earthquake. That should be good fodder for Professor Tim Gay in the physics department. Ola, Jay and Barry all continue to cause a ruckus up front turning in an impressive six sacks against a very slippery quarterback.

Tackles: (UA-A)

Corey McKeon: 9 solo, 1 assisted, 10 total, 4 tackles for loss for 21

Bo Ruud: 3 solo, 6 assisted, 9 total, 1 tackle for loss for 1 yard

Stewart Bradley: 4 solo, 3 assisted, 7 total, 1 tackle for loss for nine yards

Tierre Green: 5 solo, 1 assisted, 6 total

Blake Tiedtke: 3 solo, 3 assisted, 6 total

Adam Carriker: 2 solo, 4 assisted, 6 total

Dan Bullocks: 3 solo, 2 assisted, 5 total

Le Kevin Smith: 2 solo, 2 assisted, 4 total, 1 tackle for loss for 1 yard

Zack Bowman: 2 solo, 1 assisted, 3 total

Jay Moore: 2 solo 1 assisted, 3 total, two tackles for loss for ten yards

Ben Eisenhart: 2 solo, 2 total

Cortney Grixby: 2 solo, 2 total

Titus Adams: 2 solo, 2 total

Wali Muhammad: 2 assisted, 2 total

Barry Turner: 1 solo, 1 total, 1 tackle for loss for four yards

Ola Dagundaro: 1 solo, 1 total, 1 tackle for loss for six yards

Adam Ickes: 1 assisted, 1 total

Kevin Luhrs: 1 assisted, 1 total


Well, let's see. No quarterbacks, offensive linemen or punters on this list. That's a very good start. I like how the linebackers seem to be getting the lion's share here considering that Coach Coz (like me) enjoys a good linebacker blitz or two. I find having Blake and Tierre up on the list a bit concerning as Nebraska has a pretty good idea who Tech is going to go after and have no doubt challenged them both in practice this week.

Obviously, ISU knew Dan Bullocks is not the best choice to throw at. The men up front faced a stiffer challenge, but again, managed to get pressure and that doesn't show here, but allow me to assure those of you not in attendance, it was there.

Individual Statistics (Special Teams):


Jordan was 2/3 on Saturday missing from 21 yards out and I don't recall the angle, but still, those are kicks you have to convert. Congdon's consistency, much like Zac Taylor's, is expected to improve as the season goes along. We'll see how he sits by the time the Sooners come a'callin'.


Sam Koch: 4 punts for 162 yards. Average of 40.5 yards per punt, long of 55, two killed inside the 20.


Well, this was actually probably one of Sam's worst performances of the year and it wasn't terrible. A big day to lift his confidence back is probably necessary and he'll get that eventually, but in the mean time, I feel he just needs to stick to the fundamentals and once he gets that perfect snap and kick in a game time situation, he'll be good as gold.

Kick Return/Punt Return:

Terrence Nunn: 2 punts returned for 35 yards with a long of 27

Cortney Grixby: 3 punts returned for 35 yards with a long of 14

Tierre Green: 2 kick returned for 58 yards with a long of 45


I wouldn't attribute Terrence or Cortney's performance this past weekend so much on ability as rather poor blocking by their unit. Terrence was able to make the most out of the ability simply because I feel he's the better of the two, at least at this point. For those wondering why Grixby still even gets a shot, I feel the coaches have seen him with the same ability, it just hasn't come out in a game yet. Will he get a shot versus Texas Tech? Probably.

Tierre continues to be the man on kick returns jolting one back for 45 yards and continuing to put Nebraska in solid field position following an opposing score. Between his cornerback and special teams duties, Tierre is having a pretty good year. If he continues to improve as a defensive back, I think by the time he's done at Nebraska, we'll be able to say we had a truly special athlete, much like his cousin.

Iowa State Report Card:

Quarterbacks: A+

Runningbacks: A+

Wide Receivers: A

Offensive Linemen: B-

Defensive Linemen: A

Linebackers: A+

Defensive Backs: C-

Special Teams: C

Notes on the Texas Tech Red Raiders:

- Texas Tech finished #11 in the 1938 AP poll, #12 in 1953, #11 in 1973, #13 in 1976, #19 in 1989, #23 in 1995 and #18 in 2004.

- Their most recent bowl game was last year's 45-31 victory over California in the Holiday Bowl

- They have three members in the College Football Hall of Fame: Emil (E.J.) Joseph Holub, Jr., a center who played during 1958-1960, Hubert Edwin Bechtol, an end from 1943-1946 and Garry (Donny) Don Anderson, a halfback who played from 1963-1965.

- They claim two Doak Walker Award winners with Byron Morris in 1993 and Byron Hanspard in 1996. They also claim a Tatupu Award winner with Wes Walker in 2003.

- They claim eight consensus All-Americans and six Academic All-Americans.

- The first Texas Tech player chosen in the 2005 NFL Draft was Walt Schlinkman as the 11th overall pick by the Green Bay Packers.

- Saturday Weather Forecast: Clear skies with a high of 66 and a low of 45.

So the big question on a number of people's minds is: Can Nebraska possibly stop Mike "The Mad Scientist" Leach and his Division 1-AA decimation unit? Yeah, I think they can. Cody Hodges didn't exactly have a play date with the Kansas Jayhawks and while I admit Kansas' secondary is overall better than NU's, the game was at Tech and the boy got bounced around like he was in a ball pit. The game rests on the Blackshirts' ability to get to Hodges or at least force him to make mistakes. It should be fun to see if they can do it.

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