Archive for the ‘2007 Game Analysis’ Category

Nevada Game Analysis – Part I

September 2, 2007

Ed. Note – Here is the first part of my Nevada breakdown. For a nice season opening comparision, be sure and check out the Louisiana Tech breakdown from 2006. Part II of the analysis will include personnel and formation tendencies as soon as I have a chance to watch the game again.

Date – September 1, 2007
Location – Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
Final Score – Nebraska 52 – Nevada 10

Key Stats Check
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Category Nebraska Nevada
First Down (+4) Efficiency 30/46 (65.2%) 9/23 (39%)
Red Zone Efficiency 7/8 (88%) 1/1 (100%)
Rushing Explosive Plays (+12) 8 3
Passing Explosive Plays (+16) 6 4
Turnover Margin 0 0
Passing Efficiency 131.18 59.53
3rd Down Efficiency 7/15 (47%) 1/13 (8%)
4th Down Efficiency 1/2 (50%) 1/1 (100%)
Total Offense 625 185

Nebraska was extremely efficient on first down against Nevada. They gained 4+ yards on 65.2% on their first down plays. This goes a long ways toward keeping the team on schedule with regards to down and distance. In contrast, Nevada managed 4 or more yards on 1st down just 39% of the time. As always, the better success you have on first down the fewer 3rd and long situations you will face.

On third down, Nebraska converted 7/15 (47%) third down opportunities against the Wolfpack. That is just slightly above the 2006 season average of 45% and far better than 2005 when the Huskers converted just 33% of the their 3rd down chances. The Husker defense shut down Nevada on 3rd down holding them to a dismal conversion rate of 7.7%. Only Penn State had a better defensive third down efficiency rating in week one.

The Huskers did an amazing job in the red zone converting 7/8 (88%) opportunities. The one trip inside the twenty Nebraska didn’t convert concluded with a QB kneel to end the game. In other words, they were as good as you can get in the red zone. Nevada converted a field goal in its only visit to the red zone.

The Nebraska offense produced 14 explosive plays. On the ground, the Huskers produced 8 gains of 12 yards or more. Marlon Lucky accounted for five of those runs, while Cody Glenn, Major Culbert and Roy Helu each had one run of 12 yards or more. The passing game produced 6 explosive plays. Six different Nebraska receivers caught passes of 16 yards or more in the opener including freshman Mike McNeil. Overall, the Huskers outgained the Wolfpack 625 to 185. The 625 yards of offense was the third highest total of week one behind Oklahoma and Louisville. Quarterbacks Keller and Ganz combined for passing efficiency mark of 131.18. Coach Callahan will want that number to improve as the season progresses. Nebraska will be looking to improve over their 2006 turnover numbers, which saw them lose 17 of their 25 fumbles. Unfortunately the turnover margin against Nevada was a wash, but Sam Keller’s lone interception was returned for the Wolfpack’s only touchdown.

Drive Summary
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Drive Starting Point Drives Points Comments
-1 to -10 1 7
  • Series B – 12 Plays/94 Yds – Lucky 16 yd pass from Keller
  • -11 to -34 6 14
  • Series A – 3 Plays/1 Yd – Punt
  • Series C – 3 Plays/1 Yd – Punt
  • Series D – 7 Plays/42 Yds – INT
  • Series G – 3 Plays/7 Yds – End of Half
  • Series K – 6 Plays/87 Yds – Castille 2 yard run
  • Series M – 9 Plays/84 Yds – Culbert 17 yard run
  • -35 to +35 7 31
  • Series E – 9 Plays/39 Yds – Lucky 1 yard run
  • Sereis F – 9 Plays/54 Yds – Castille 1 yard run
  • Series H – 7 Plays/65 Yds – Lucky 17 yard run
  • Series I – 5 Plays/54 Yds – Lucky 3 yard run
  • Series J – 7 Plays/28 Yds – FG
  • Series L – 5 Plays/19 Yds – Turnover on Downs
  • Series N – 12 Plays/47 Yds – QB Kneel/End Game
  • +34 to +11 0 0
    +10 to +1 0 0
    Totals 14 52 14 Drives, 7 TDs/1 FG Avg. Scoring Drive = 8 Plays/63.1 Yds

    Nebraska got off to a bit of a slow start with two punts and an interception returned for a TD in the Huskers first four drives. After a 3 and out on the first drive of the season, Sam Keller led NU on a 12-play/94 yard drive capped off with a 16-yard completion to Marlon Lucky. After then finding themselves behind 10-7 the Nebraska offense got rolling in the second quarter. After a 46-yard Cortney Grixby kickoff return, Lucky scored his second TD of the game on a 1-yard run that ended a 9 play/39 yard drive. Just a few minutes later Quentin Castille scored his first career TD to give Nebraska a 21-10 advantage.

    After 3rd quarter struggles doomed the Huskers in 2006, the Nebraska offense exploded in the third stanza against Nevada. The Huskers put together drives of 65, 54, 28 and 87 yards to bury the Wolfpack for good. The 28-yard drive was capped by a sight for sore eyes, in the way of a 46-yard field goal from true freshman Adi Kunalic.

    Overall Nebraska scored TDs on 8/14 drives in the game. The average starting position for Nebraska’s drives was their own 32-yard line. Louisiana Tech’s average starting position was their own 25.

    Run/Pass Split
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    Plays Number Yards Avg.
    Run Plays 70 413 5.9
    Pass Plays 26 212 8.2
    Total Plays 96 625 6.5

    I didn’t know what to expect from Callahan’s gameplan for Nevada. I figured he might try to keep the ball on the ground, but wondered about the durability of our running backs. No way, no how did I imagine us running the ball 70 times in any game during Callahan’s regime. The 70 carries led the nation for the first week of the season and was 10 more than Air Force, which ranked second nationally in rushing attempts. Nebraska’s 413 yards led the nation in week one. Seventy carries, an option or two and leading the nation in rushing? It feels like 1995 all over again.

    Amazingingly Nebraska ran 96 plays against Nevada, which tied the Huskers with Memphis for the most plays run during the opening week. Led by Marlon Lucky, Nebraska averaged 5.9 yards per carry against the Wolfpack, which was the 20th best rushing average during week one. The Huskers averaged more than 5 yards a carry five times in 2006. The 8.12 yards per passing attempt was lower than I would like to see, but was still good enough for 28th nationally after the first game.

    Play Selection By Down and Distance
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    Down Distance Runs Pct. Yds. Passes Pct. Yds.
    1st & 10 30 65% 193 16 35% 139
    2nd & 1-3 5 83% 13 1 17% 15
    & 4-6 11 92% 90 1 8% 6
    & 7+ 13 81% 62 3 19% 23
    3rd & 1-2 2 50% 3 2 50% -6
    & 3-6 4 67% 14 2 33% 29
    & 7+ 4 50% 13 4 50% 15
    4th & 2-3 1 100% 1 0 0 0
    & 4+ 2 100% 10 0 0 0

    As previously stated, Nebraska had great success on first down. Many coaches believe first down is the best down to keep an opponent off-balance by varying run and pass calls and keeping defensive coordinators guessing. Even with a heavy emphasis on the run in the game as a whole, Callahan still managed a 65%/35% run/pass split on first down. Surprisingly that is only slightly higher than the overall 2006 run/pass split on first down of 63% run/37% pass.

    Nebraska ran the ball almost exclusively on second down against Nevada. Rushing plays accounted for 85% of the second down play calls against the Wolfpack. A year ago Nebraska ran the ball 58% of the time on second down and just 48% of the time on 2nd and 7+.

    Third and short is another situation that Callahan attempts to keep the defense guessing. See the end of the 2006 Texas game in case you have forgotten. You’ll notice a 50/50 run/pass split on 3rd and 1-2 yards against Nevada. A year ago that split was 64% run/36% pass. That might be something to keep an eye on this year.