Under The Hood: Nebraska at Texas

The game doesn't quite mean as much as many of us anticipated it would when the season got underway, but as Mack Brown noted on Monday, it's still Nebraska. We know the Huskers are in a freefall right now, but exactly how bad has it been? Let's take a look.

Nebraska margin of victory: -5.3 points
Texas margin of victory: +15.3 points

Nebraska's opponents have a combined record of: 29-18
Texas' opponents have a combined record of: 23-25
As another rough guide, Jeff Sagarin lists Nebraska's strength of schedule as 22nd most difficult in the country and Texas' as 81st.

How are these two teams performing statistically? Below are tables of each team's season totals, with national rank in parentheses.

Nebraska By The Numbers: Offense
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD QB Rating Total Offense Scoring Offense
151.6 (66) 4.06 (60) 13 (46) 270.4 (29) 7.4 (33) 13 (45) 133.1 (36) 422.0 (34) 26.6 (63)



Texas By The Numbers: Offense
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD QB Rating Total Offense Scoring Offense
164.5 (47) 4.34 (49) 16 (25) 273.3 (27) 7.7 (24) 15 (34) 138.6 (25) 437.8 (26) 34.6 (28)



************************************************************************



Nebraska By The Numbers: Defense
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD QB Rate Total Defense Scoring Defense
227.4 (115) 5.12 (109) 22 (117) 230.0 (70) 6.9 (66) 10 (45) 122.0 (58) 457.4 (105) 31.9 (91)



Texas By The Numbers: Defense
Rush YPG Rush YPC Rush TD Pass YPG Pass YPA Pass TD QB Rate Total Defense Scoring Defense
89.4 (11) 2.75 (12) 7 (19) 216.6 (54) 5.8 (18) 7 (13) 106.2 (19) 306.0 (16) 19.3 (23)



The final step is to put those numbers into context. The following chart shows the national rank in total offense and total defense for each of Nebraska and Texas' 2007 opponents.Nebraska-Texas Opponents' Unit Rankings
Total Offense Rank NU Opponent Total Defense Rank -- Total Offense Rank Texas Opponent Total Defense Rank
8
Nevada
94
--
44
Ark. St.
61
83
@Wake Forest
50
--
85
TCU
33
31
USC
3
--
55
@UCF
64
18
Ball State
87
--
106
Rice
118
104
Iowa State
54
--
37
Kansas State
45
7
@Missouri
74
--
21
Oklahoma
11
11
Oklahoma State
91
--
104
@Iowa State
54
41
Texas A&M
73
--
82
@Baylor
90
37.9
Average
66.8
--
66.8
Average
59.5

Analysis

*I knew Nebraska had been struggling on defense, but this is ridiculous. Over 450 yards allowed per game, 227 on the ground. I didn't pay too much attention to Nebraska's offseason attrition, but the 2006 defense was ranked 37th against the run. What in the hell happened?

*Part of the problem appears to be the players quitting on head coach Bill Callahan. I'll be talking with Corn Nation about that later today, but based on what's been said there and elsewhere, it appears the Huskers have more or less given up on the coach and the season.

*It is worth noting that Nebraska's faced some of college football's better offenses this season. Remarkably, they pretty well controlled a Nevada team which has given everyone else they've faced fits. The slide seems to have started when USC came to town.

*Once more, the numbers pretty clearly indicate how poor Texas' level of competition has been this year. The 'Horns have faced two decent teams this year - Kansas State and Oklahoma - losing both times. I'm not terribly surprised to see Arkansas State faring reasonably well statistically, either. That team was far better than most of us anticipated.

*On paper, this one's easy to call. The game's in Austin, Texas has performed dramatically better than the Huskers in 2007, albeit against softer competition. Throw in the mess surrounding Bill Callahan and it's tough to imagine Texas losing this game. Which probably means that we'll be in a dogfight to the end.

--PB--

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