First Big Test for Husker Offense

In years past we've seen Nebraska's offense look strong through the nonconference portion of the schedule. Once the conference schedule began, things would sometimes appear quite different. Saturday's game with Wisconsin may tell us whether the the offensive show we've seen so far is something that will continue or whether expectations should be tempered.

 

The Huskers find themselves 13-point favorites going into the game with the Badgers. By about every measure, U-Dub has been a bad offensive football team. The main reason Wisconsin has tallied three wins has been their defense. They've been outstanding at stopping the run, giving up just 81 yards a game. They've been good enough against the pass to be among the top third of teams nationally in total defense and scoring defense. Chances are, that when NU's fifth ranked rushing offense (318 yards per game) meets the Badger's thirteenth ranked rushing defense, the result will land somewhere between the averages for the two teams. Split right down the middle, you might expect Nebraska to rush for around 200 yards.

The passing game is even more intriguing. Wisconsin's defense has been only middling against the pass while NU has been tenth nationally in pass efficiency. The Badgers have sacked opposing passers fewer than twice a game. Taylor Martinez has shown that he can be deadly when given time. If those trends continue, it could be a long night for UW.

The other trend of concern for Wisconsin's defense has been their lack of turnovers. They've generated just a single turnover all year. Should that trend continue, then it's hard to imagine a Badger victory. In the vast majority of losses by Nebraska in the Bo Pelini era, NU has had a negative turnover margin. Take away that advantage and what hope will UW have? Discipline will be the name of the game (as usual) for the Huskers. Take care of the ball and avoid penalties and the game should belong to the men of corn. Wisconsin has been among the better teams at avoiding penalties and similarly they've turned the ball over a fairly modest five times in four games.

Last year, NU got off to a good start before it was all Badgers. This year, expect to see some payback.

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Comments 12 comments so far

And…as we all know..paybacks can be hell.

Well, they haven’t faced a huge rushing attack.

Utah State is 37th in the nation in rushing
Northern Iowa obv FCS
Oregon State is 114th in the nation in rushing
UTEP is 94th in the nation in rushing

Nebraska is 5th in the nation.

So really, this is a test of Wisconsin’s rush defense every bit as much it is a test of Nebraska’s offense. 

Utah State is the highest ranked rusher they’ve faced and they gave up 308 total yards of offense…more than their 234 they put up.  I’d say they have to be at least a little bit worried.

Beck…  I like what you’re doing now.  Stay loose and don’t get one-dimensional with the play calling.  The passing has improved a great deal and I don’t have an issue with using it, but let’s keep that to 1st downs and 3rds 6+ situations.  Use the diamond formation in 3rd downs that should keep the D on their heels enough for either a run or a pass.

Take your time.  Be deliberate.  Keep their Defense on the field for a while trying to stop the run, you should be golden in the 4th.

This game will be a preview of the conference game, I see the Huskers winning out.

I think this game is going to be closer than people think. Wisconsin’s only loss is to a Oregon State who just beat ucla who beat us. If we can get some pressure to the qb than we have a really good chance winning. But if we leave them all day to throw like most times and cant make holes for our running backs than it could be another tim beck nebraska panic mode throwing all over the field not knowing what to do. Excited for the game. GBR!

Mack,

Circular logic like that never works.  I’ve found stats to be pretty telling most I of the time.  Their offense hasn’t moved the ball well all season and I don’t see them coming in and suddenly having an epiphany at Nebraska either.  It might be close for a while but I think Nebraska will pull away in the 3rd.

Dkdevine

If you are comparing stats then id be a little worried. Yeah Wisconsin hasn’t been the best but Nebraska has really only played 2 opponents that we’re good. Southern miss and UCLA and both of them put up big numbers running specially UCLA. Plus Wisconsin has a running back who was a Heisman candidate last year. Beating 2 powder puff schools doesn’t convince me of them playing better. Until they win this game I’m still going 2 be concerned about the next five games.if they win i like our chances a lot winning the big 10 but if they lose its going 2 be a long season i think. Hope I’m wrong. Go huskers!

Jake,

Doubt that Montee Ball will be playing next week.  2nd concussion in last few months.  First was when he was jumped by a bunch of thug students during fall camp.

This game is going to be close and I just hope our offensive line can punch enough holes to get some yards running.  Our defensive line has to get some pressure on their quarterback or it is going to be a long day.  I just hope Bo has the defense ready to tackle properly and stop them from gaining extra yards.  I don’t look at stats because this is now conference play.  GBR

I am just hoping that Beck doesn’t forget about the running game if we get down more than 7 points (such as UCLA).

If NU plays like the are capable this game will not be close. 38-17 NU
If they turn it over or rack up a bunch of penalties it could be a struggle. I think we match up well with this team. Show up play hard and smart=win.

There’s a time to be Cool…and a time to be Manic….and this game is a time for the latter.  Line up in the diamond…no huddle hurry up offense… with 5 (including T Magic) of the top runners in the Game and some of the best receivers NU has ever had.  When WU keys on the run, let the backs become blockers and protect TM so he has time to throw some decent passes.. He IS the number 5 passer in the Nation after all, despite all the crtisism.  And don’t forget, TM can also run like a scared rabbit when he gets the chance.  NU is an exceptional team this year and will be very difficult for any defense to dominate.  I think they came off the UCLA loss with a definite attitude and a “Never Again” mind set.  We will play hard and smart..and NU will win. Oh ye of little Faith.

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