Hot Reads: Huskers' Offense Had a Huge October
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Hot Reads: Huskers’ Offense Had a Huge October

October 29, 2018

Nebraska football went 2-2 in October, but I'm guessing that won't be how we remember the month that just was for the Huskers. As we get a few more years into the Scott Frost era, my guess is Husker fans and pundits will look at this month as the one in which Nebraska football started to look like the Frost brand of football honed during his two-season stint at Central Florida.

The numbers certainly support that view, at least on offense. The Huskers made a lot of gains, literally, over the past four weeks.

Using cfbstats.com's splits to look at October only, Nebraska ranked sixth nationally in rush yards per play (6.47), seventh in total yards per play (7.41) and 17th in points per game (38.3). UCF ranked 16th in points per game (38.7) over three games in October.

All of those yards and points –– Nebraska's yardage total in October was 46 percent of the total yards gained in all of 2017 and the point total was 49.5 percent of last year's –– resulted in some impressive individual numbers as well.

Senior running back Devine Ozigbo averaged 9 yards per carry, 11th nationally in October. His five rushing touchdowns ranked 14th. (Maurice Washington's three rushing touchdowns tied for 51st.)

The Huskers' big two at wide receiver were also kicking around the top 10. Sophomore JD Spielman (434 yards, 108.5 per game) ranked fifth in receiving yards, 17th in yards per game. Senior Stanley Morgan Jr. (369 yards, 92.3 per game) ranked 11th and 28th respectively. Morgan's four receiving touchdowns also ranked sixth nationally.

Then there was the triggerman. True freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 69.5 percent of his passes (14th) with a passer rating of 159.23 (18th). (If you wanted to go that route, you could also argue that things started to click for Chip Kelly's quarterback, also a freshman, around the same time. After completing 52.7 percent for a rating of 108.49 in September, Dorian Thompson-Robinson jumped to 73.8 percent and 157.78 in October before getting injured against Arizona.) 

Those numbers all came against what should be in most years a pretty representative schedule. Nebraska didn't face any of the toughest teams on its slate (at least based on how things look now), but it did take on three division foes. And while none of them are Michigan's 2018 defense, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Minnesota all ranked between 39th and 66th in defensive S&P+ going into last week's games.

The degree of offensive difficulty will go up in November. Three of the Huskers' remaining four opponents ranked in the top 50 in the same rankings last week: Ohio State (49th), Michigan State (15th) and Iowa (9th). But after an explosive October, Nebraska seems better prepared to handle such a slate.

Should be a fun final month to the season.

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