Saturday, November 1, 2008

OU-NU Preview

When Oklahoma has the ball - Bradford is 3rd in the nation in pass efficiency and has been lighting it up this year. Demarco Murray seems to have found his groove a little bit running the ball as well. Nebraska is in the middle of the pack in defensive statistics. To their credit, they held the Red Raiders to only 31 points in Lubbock during regulation play, but that was in part to controlling time of possession for 40 minutes. I don't think the Bugeater D will be able to stop the Sooner O with any level of regularity.
When Oklahoma punts the ball - when this does happen, OU sucks at it this year. The Sooners are 106th in net punting. Our best punting play is when pressure on punter Mike Knall allows his to display his Academy Award level acting skills. Conversely, the Huskers are 14th in the nation in punt returns. Nate Swift has led the way, with 7 punt returns for 121 yards. It says something that Nebraska has only returned 13 punts so far.
When Oklahoma kicks the ball - I'll close my eyes again this week. As much practice as Ou gets kicking off, you'd think we'd be better at it. The Sooners are 109th in KO return defense. Only 11 of the 66 kicks have been toucbacks. Nebraska is 32nd in KO returns. Look for that to improve this week. Alternatively, here are the top 10 teams in KO return defense this year: FishEasters, LSU, UNC, La Tech, Troy, K State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Marshall ,Western Michigan and Temple.
When Nebraska has the ball - statistically, Joe Ganz is the 6th best passer in the Big 12, which ranks him 9th nationally, excluding the Big 12. The Bugeaters are 12th nationally in passing yards per game, and 29th in scoring offense. The rushing offense average 4.3 yards per game, which ranks 53rd. Marlon Lucky leads the way when the N rushes the ball. Nate Swift is Ganz's favorite receiving target, and has 100+ yards receiving in each of the last two games. As far as defense goes, the Sooners are now struggling in conference play, courtesy of the offenses in the conference and the inabilty to replace Reynolds in the middle of the D. Going into Texas, OU had the 1st ranked defense in passing efficiency and was 15th in scoring D. Three weeks later, the Sooners are 33rd in pass efficiency and 50th in scoring D. Nebraska should move the ball okay. The trick to the Sooners D is getting the offense to 3rd down. the Sooners continue to be solid defensively on 3rd down, ranking 6th in the nation.
When Nebraska punts the ball - the Bugeaters are even worse in net punting than the Sooners, ranking 118th. The Huskers are 76th in punt return D. The Sooners are 46th in punt returns, climbing the charts after Ryan Broyles return for a score last week. The Sooners have been rotating Franks, Iglesias and Broyles in there, but now taht Broyles is 12th in the nation, he may get back there all the time. It's rare this year that the Sooners find a team worse than them on special teams, but we may have found one in Nebraska.
When Nebraska kicks the ball, they are 77th in ko return defense. The Sooners are 14th in the natino in kickoff returns. DeMarco Murray and Juaquin Iglesias both average just over 24 yards per return.

In summation: 45-21, Sooners.

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