Nebraska's numbers tell ugly tale
The Cornhuskers have started a season 0-2 for the first time since 1957.
Perhaps you have heard.
It was the first statistic that a lot of people cited in the immediate aftermath of Nebraska’s 24-19 loss to Troy on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Here’s the amazing part, and the part which reveals where Nebraska is as a program: It wasn’t even a major shock. An upset, yes. But as I mentioned going into this game, this Troy team took out LSU last year, nearly beat Clemson in 2016 and won the Sun Belt Conference championship last year. The Trojans were even ranked for a week in the AP poll in 2016 and have won 10 or more games each of the past two seasons.
And Nebraska simply isn’t scaring anybody right now.
A deeper dive into the numbers coming out of Saturday tells an even uglier tale. Denizens of Big Red Nation, brace yourselves:
1: Troy’s all-time victories against Big Ten teams. The Trojans are now 1-8 vs. the B1G, 1-4 against Nebraska.
3.9: Nebraska’s yards per rush against the Trojans. That’s not going to cut it when you’re trying to help an inexperienced quarterback, and Andrew Bunch won’t help with his legs the way Adrian Martinez will when he’s back healthy.
6: Nebraska’s losing streak dating to last season. That’s the longest for the Cornhuskers since 1957 (there’s that year again) when they lost their last seven and finished 1-9. Nebraska has surpassed its five-game skid from the 2007 season.
9.5: The point spread going in. Nebraska, at home, against a Sun Belt Conference team, was not even a double-digit favorite. See what I mean by this being an upset, but not a massive shock? The bettors knew something.
10: Troy’s tackles for loss, for 48 yards.
40: Percentage of Nebraska’s red zone trips which resulted in touchdowns (2 for 5).
50: Years it has been since Nebraska went two straight seasons without going to a bowl game (1967-68). It’s too early to tell with this team but the Cornhuskers have an unfriendly crossover schedule against the B1G East Division (at Michigan, at Ohio State, vs. Michigan State) so they’ll have to work pretty hard to get to six conference wins and achieve postseason eligibility.
253: Troy’s total yards on offense. Had Nebraska’s offense and special teams been better, this defensive effort should have easily been good enough to win for Big Red.