Statistically Speaking

When Texas Tech comes to town, you can always expect some pretty staggering statistics, especially when it comes to the passing game. In this contest, however, the Cornhuskers were able to cork the Red Raiders much more efficiently in the second half putting them in position to win their fifth straight game. Find all out about the numbers in this week's Statistically Speaking.

                                     TT       NU
FIRST DOWNS...................       23       22
RUSHES-YARDS (NET)............       44      135
PASSING YDS (NET).............      368      229
Passes Att-Comp-Int...........  34-45-1  21-35-2
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS.....   68-412   70-364
Fumble Returns-Yards..........    0-0-0   1-46-0
Punt Returns-Yards............    0-0-0   2-43-0
Kickoff Returns-Yards.........   5-86-0   4-59-0
Interception Returns-Yards....   2-20-0   1-14-0
Punts (Number-Avg)............   3-48.7     1-32
Fumbles-Lost..................      2-1      5-3
Penalties-Yards...............     9-89     8-72
Possession Time...............    30:59    29:01
Third-Down Conversions........  1 of 10   3 of 8
Fourth-Down Conversions.......   3 of 3   0 of 1
Red-Zone Scores-Chances.......      5-6      5-5
Sacks By: Number-Yards........     2-11     4-38
 

The first down numbers work for and against Nebraska here.  If there's one thing Texas Tech does efficiently (and they do many things that way), it's convert first downs.  Interestingly enough, Nebraska was able to do the same thing surpassing my typical 20 per game average.  While Tech was able to notch up several, the Cornhuskers' efforts in the second half (including several three and outs) impressed me with their ability to adjust to this strength.

The rushing yardage is interesting here as Nebraska returned to a solid 2:1 pass-run ratio.  Taylor's accuracy was there, however his decision making was questionable at times resulting in two interceptions.  Tech's Cody Hodges plays well in Head Coach Mike Leach's system and was, of course, very accurate in piling up passing yardage with the help of Jarrett Hicks and the receiving corps along with Taurean Henderson.  The defensive backs got a real wake up call in this game, however I'm not sure they're going to see a passing offense this prolific nor as accurate for the rest of the season.

The total offense statistics are also something to look at as Tech is not shy at hanging 5-700 yards of offense on someone if they can.  I look for Nebraska to put up at least 400 yards of offense per game to be successful and they fell just short of that.  However, as I have suggested, it's not yardage that matters, it's the final score.

Nebraska turned the ball over five times in this contest to Tech's two and I'm sorry but a -3 turnover ratio will not win you a ball game in typical situations.  However, I have to tip my cap to the Cornhuskers for being in this time to the very end, perhaps in spite of their own mistakes. 

The penalty column comes with an asterisk as I felt many calls were extremely ticky tack and I found it interesting that a team whose bread and butter is passing the ball was not once called for holding even though photographic proof has been shown that there was at least one instance that should've been called.

Third down conversions again seem to be an area of difficulty again for Nebraska, but 3 of 8 isn't too terrible by any means.  If NU can get a 50% or better average per game, I think they'll be in good shape.  Tech, however, only had a 10% completion rate once they reached the third down which is a testament to how well the Blackshirts played, however giving up every fourth down conversion attempted balances that out a bit.

Another statistic of note: Nebraska had five chances to convert in the red zone and came away with a 100% success rate, something that could not be touted earlier in the season.  Also, sacking Cody Hodges four times is something to hang one's hat on as Cody is no slow quarterback.

Individual Statistics (Offense):

Rushing:

Cory Ross: 15 carries for 68 yards with a long of 11 and a 4.5 yards per carry average.

Cody Glenn: 12 carries for 39 yards and two touchdowns with a long of 10 and a 3.2 yards per carry average

Marlon Lucky: 3 carrries for 23 yards with a long of 11 and a 7.7 yards per carry average.

Brandon Jackson: 1 carry for 4 yards

Zac Taylor: 4 carries for 1 yard with a long of 12 and a 0.2 carry average

Comments: When Nebraska wanted to run, it was apparent that the Captain was the man to call on as Cory Ross did what he has always done during his tenure at Nebraska: what was asked of him.  When NU needed a dose of the ground game Cory gave it his all and ended with a solid day. 

The talk of the day, however, was true freshman Cody Glenn who barreled his way into the end zone twice last Saturday and very well may have cemented himself both as Nebraska's short distance back and as a bruiser between the tackles.  Marlon Lucky continues to work out the kinks and, much like Cody, should see even more action when appropriate as the season continues.

Passing:

Zac Taylor: 21 of 35 for 229 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions with a long of 24. 

Comments: Taylor came out Saturday and had moments that made the crowd both moan and cheer as he did, indeed, make a few spotty decisions resulting in picks, but credit his receivers along with his fine accuracy on his two touchdown passes which were both VERY hard passes to make and catch. 

It appears that as the season progresses, Taylor is learning to play within the offense and fully take command.  Look for him to continue this trend against the Baylor Bears even though their statistical pass defense rating is in the top ten.

Receiving:

Mark LeFlore: 5 catches for 53 yards with a long of 18

Cory Ross: 4 catches for 51 yards with a long of 24

Terrence Nunn: 3 catches for 39 yards and two touchdowns with a long of 18

Nate Swift: 3 catches for 24 yards with a long of 12

Frantz Hardy: 2 catches for 21 yards with a long of 13

Grant Mulkey:  2 catches for 19 yards with a long of 14

Isaiah Fluellen: 1 catch for 12 yards

J.B. Phillips: 1 catch for 10 yards

Comments: Before I say anything else, let me put the spotlight on J.B. Phillips for a moment.  This is a kid that I have seen struggle mightily since the beginning of the season and though he only had one catch, it was for 10 yards, it was for a first down and he looked mighty good throughout the game.  It was easily his best game to date and I hope this trend continues because he looked better than I've ever seen him look.

Mark LeFlore leading this chart surprises me as he just never seemed to have much get up and go to him, but he certainly did against the Red Raiders hauling in five.  Cory Ross lends his services again, of course, picking up half a'hundred and Terrence Nunn?  His touchdown catches can be summed up in one word: wow.  What appeared to be incompletions or dropped passes, Terrence turned into 12 points.  I think we may have something special here, folks.  Nate Swift, Frantz Hardy and Grant Mulkey along with Isaiah Fluellen all played their specific roles well, too guiding Nebraska to another fine day passing.

Individual Statistics (Defense):

Sacks:

Adam Carriker: 1 sack for a loss of 13 yards

Jay Moore: 1 sack for a loss of 12 yards

Bo Ruud: 1 sack for a loss of 9 yards

Blake Tiedtke: 1 sack for a loss of 4 yards

Comments: The fact that four players are listed here amazes me as Tech never got called for holding (amazingly) and with Cody Hodges being a wily young man, that doesn't make it very easy either.  Jay Moore had an excellent day despite having his jersey torn in half and bravo to Blake Tiedtke for his efforts.  What really makes me happy here is seeing both rush ends on the list.

Total Defensive Statistics:

Dan Bullocks: 7 solo tackles, 5 assisted, 12 total, 2 pass break ups

Blake Tiedtke: 2 solo tackles, 5 assisted tackles, 7 total, 1 tackle for loss for four yards

Bo Ruud: 2 solo tackles, 4 assisted, 6 total, 1 tackle for loss for nine yards, 1 fumble recovery returned 46 yards, 1 sack for 4 yards

Corey McKeon: 6 assisted tackles, 6 total

Ola Dagunduro: 2 solo tackles, 3 assisted, 5 total, 1 QB hurry

Jay Moore: 3 solo tackles, 1 assisted, 4 total, 2.5 tackles for loss for 18 yards, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass break up, 1 sack for 12 yards

Stewart Bradley: 2 solo tackles, 2 assisted, 4 total, 1 QB hurry

Le Kevin Smith: 1 solo tackle, 3 assisted, 4 total, 1 tackle for loss for six yards, one interception returned for 14 yards,

Tierre Green: 2 solo tackles, 1 assisted, 3 total

Adam Ickes: 1 solo tackle, 2 assisted, 3 total, .5 tackles for loss for one yard, one kick blocked

Cortney Grixby: 1 solo tackle, 2 assisted, 3 total

Titus Adams: 1 solo tackle, 2 assisted, 3 total

Zach Bowman: 2 solo tackles, 2 total

Joey Robison: 2 assisted tackles, 2 total

Cory Ross: 1 solo tackle, 1 total

Adam Carriker: 1 solo tackle, 1 total, 1 tackle for loss for 13 yards, 1 quarterback hurry

Brandon Rigoni: 1 solo tackle, 1 total

Wali Muhammad: 1 solo tackle, 1 total

Andrew Shanle: 1 assisted tackle, 1 total

Tyler Fisher: 1 assisted tackle, 1 total

Leon Jackson: 1 assisted tackle, 1 total

Dontrell Moore: 1 assisted tackle, 1 total

Titus Brothers: 1 assisted tackle, 1 total

Jeff Souder: 1 assisted tackle, 1 total

Comments: Well, the scenario's familiar with the Captain at the top but Blake Tiedtke really showed up against Tech with an inspiring performance that really cemented my belief in his abilities.  I suppose it was Bo's turn to take on the linebacker of the week role as Corey's "paltry" 6 tackles indicate. 

Jay Moore's day was huge as you can plainly see and a number of players got to get out and smack some people on special teams including, yes, that's right, Leon Jackson.  Also, if you didn't get to see his hit?  Well, a few fillings could've been knocked loose, we'll put it that way.  Joey Robison helped out very well and the D-backs simply were overmatched by more experienced receivers. 

Another shout out to the kick-blocking specialist that is Adam Ickes.  The man just will not be denied, folks.  Le Kevin, fumble, what could've been, let's move on.  I was also quite encouraged by the amount of pressure and, as mentioned, sacks on Hodges as he's typically had plenty of time to stand back and make throws.

Individual Statistics (Special Teams):

Kicking/Punting: I decided to cram these two together as Jordan Congdon completed his only field goal attempt from 27 yards out and Sam Koch only having one punt for 32 yards which he pinned inside the 20.  Not really a lot to talk about here as the men did their jobs, so, a solid pat on the back for what they accomplished and should Nebraska need them in the future, no doubt they'll do well.  The kick can only help Jordon's confidence, by the way.

Kick Return/Punt Return:

Cortney Grixby: two punts returned for 43 yards with a long of 23

Brandon Jackson: 3 kicks returned for 37 yards with a long of 27

Tierre Green: 1 kick returned 22 yards with a long of 22

Comments:  Cortney showed a little more improvement this week in terms of less lateral movement and more North-South work.  Only being back there twice really reduced Terrence's chances this week, I think.

On kicks, Brandon took the majority of the load and while some may criticize his role back there, I'll tell you this: on his 27 yard return, I thought it was Tierre returning it for a moment.  He showed some speed there and I think that pretty much explains why he is where he is.  Tierre was no disappointment as well bringing the ball out past the typical starting point.

Texas Tech Report Card:

Quarterbacks: A-

Runningbacks: A+

Wide Receivers: A

Offensive Linemen: B

Defensive Linemen: A

Linebackers: A

Defensive Backs: D

Special Teams: B+

Notes on the Baylor Bears:

- Baylor's average offensive statistical mark in the country is 56.5 while their average defensive mark is 19.3.

- They rank 75th in total offense, 59th in rushing and 80th in passing while ranking 13th in scoring defense, 15th in total defense, 27th in rushing defense and 7th in pass defense.

- To this point, they have played SMU, Samford, Army, Texas A&M and Iowa State beating all but the Aggies.

- The school was founded in 1845 and the average cost of attendance is $26,136

- They have finished in the AP poll a total of 10 times with the most recent being a #12 ranking in 1986.

- Their last bowl game was the 1994 Alamo Bowl versus Washington State.  The Bears lost 10-3.

- They have seven members in the College Football Hall of Game including Mike Singletary who was also inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1998. 

- Their punter, Daniel Sepulveda won the Ray Guy Award in 2004 for the nation's best at his position.

- They have had seven Academic All-Americans, the most recent being Ty Atteberry, a punter in 1996.

- They have had seven Consensus All-Americans including two-timers Mike Singletary and Lawrence Elkins.

- Defensive End Khari Long was selected in last year's NFL draft.

The Nebraska-Baylor game is going to test the mettle of both squads.  Nebraska coming off its first loss will be tested for the first time on the road and the Baylor Bears are going to be faced with its toughest opponent to date.  Baylor has some solid weaponry on the offensive side of the ball in Quarterback Shawn Bell, Runningback Paul Mosley along with a solid corps of receivers.

This isn't your father's Baylor team, then again, maybe it is as the Bears haven't had success for a while now, but ever since Guy Morris showed up, Baylor is showing promise.  Still, their schedule is suspect and the game between them and the Cornhuskers is going to show a lot about both teams.  In the end, I suspect it's going to come down to a dogfight and someone is going to have to land a knockout blow.

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

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