There are a lot of ways to look at a football game. These are the numbers you won’t find in the ordinary box score.
week following the game we’ll share some key stats to track the
Huskers’ progress this season in “Beyond the Box Score.” This game was knocked into the “garbage time” realm early, so all of the number below include only stats from the first half. For a more
complete explanation of the numbers, click here.
Here’s a closer look at Nebraska’s 62-3 loss at Ohio State.
Efficiency (Success Rate)
Running the ball on the Buckeyes was as difficult as expected, and that was always going to put the Huskers’ offense in a difficult spot. It took its deep shots against Ohio State’s man coverage — in fact it looked like simply hoping to win those battles was Nebraska’s best bet for much of the first half — and one of them hit for 32 yards to Jordan Westerkamp. But the Buckeyes’ secondary won a few more of those battles and that’s the challenge of playing a team like Ohio State — it’s really talented everywhere. The success rate showsit . Every thing that follows shows it, too.
Explosiveness (Yards per Play)
For most of this 2016 season, Nebraska’s defensive identity has been to yield some yards and survive with key stops. The key stops never came on Saturday, but from a yards and explosive plays perspective, the Huskers weren’t terrible in the first half. Ohio State averaged 5.6 yards over the first 30 minutes and only had three plays hit for 20-plus yards. Nebraska had two, one a lucky tip that ended up in Stanley Morgan Jr.’s hands and extended a drive that resulted in the Huskers’ lone points of the first half.
Turnovers (Turnover Points)
At the point that Nebraska got its lone turnover counted in the numbers above, it seemed like the sort of thing that might at least make this game respectable. Nebraska had the ball inside the Buckeyes’ 40, got a huge run from Tommy Armstrong Jr. to keep the drive alive. It also put Armstrong out of the game in a scary moment on the sideline. Nebraska came away empty and it was tough to find a whole lot of hope in Husker land after that. The Buckeyes, of course, converted their turnover into a touchdown.
Finishing Drives (Points Per Trip Inside the 40)
Ohio State didn’t just average six points per trip, it averaged six points per drive. So, yeah, Nebraska didn’t get any stops in scoring territory or anywhere else, really. The Huskers only had two meaningful scoring opportunities. The first one ended in a field goal, which felt like a loss considering Nebraska had first-and-goal at the Buckeyes’ 2-yard line. The second one…well…there was little question that Nebraska would and should have gone for it. That didn’t work out.
Minus the muffed punt return, no Nebraska drive started closer than the Huskers’ 25-yard line. Ohio State executed its kickoffs almost perfectly, hanging kicks up and putting them right by the pylon. It’s a tough kick to execute but Ohio State has been doing it for a long time and it felt like the Huskers weren’t very well prepared for it. Tre Bryant caught a few he shouldn’t have and averaged just 18 yards per return.
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.