Two Steps Forward, One Step Back — By the Numbers: Nebraska at Ohio State

[Editor’s note: NEWBrutus is a long-time poster on our forum who has contributed statistical breakdowns for us in the past. Up today is a look back at what went right, wrong, and indifferent against Nebraska.]

Ohio State came into the Nebraska game looking to improve certain areas on both sides of the ball, and while they did show some improvement in some areas, they actually struggled and regressed in others.

Looking at the Drives

 DrivesAvg StartTDs FGA FGMOff. Pts Pts/Dr Dr Eff.Sc. Chance SC Eff. Pts/SC
Ohio St.1468.2500342.43.3476.5003.50

The Buckeyes held an advantage in starting field position, points per drive, and drive efficiency. Each team had six scoring chances. A scoring chance is defined as a possession with a first down inside your opponent’s 40-yard line.

In what has been a recurring nightmare for the Buckeyes, there was an inability to convert their scoring chances into points. Of the six, two ended with a turnover, and one ended with a turnover on downs. This was a significant component to the outcome of this game. Converting those opportunities into points potentially makes this a blowout. However these failures allowed an overmatched team to stay much closer than they should have.

It should be noted, Nebraska had one scoring chance end in a turnover as well, which in the end turned out to be a significant factor.

(Note: The safety, along with other special teams or defensive scores are not included in drive stats.)

Failing to convert scoring chances into points is disappointing, but allowing the Cornhuskers six scoring chances is equally concerning.

Looking at the Offensive Stats

 Plays Yards YPP Succ RateXPLXPL Yds XPL Yds Pct
Ohio St.724816.68.5289259.538

Sacks are included in the passing stats. A successful play is a gain of 50% of the needed yards on first down, 70% of the needed yards on second down, and all of the needed yards on 3rd and 4th downs.

The Good…

  • The Buckeyes were able to run the ball much more effectively on Saturday. They averaged over 6 yards per carry and had a success rate of nearly 54%. This compares to 3.5 yards per carry and a success rate of 36% in their three previous contests.
  • The Buckeye defense limited the Cornhuskers to only six explosive plays (plays which gain 15 yards or more), the best measure for this metric since we faced Tulane in the fourth game of the season.
  • The punt team scored two points on a blocked punt.

The Not So Good…

  • The passing game was erratic at best. It was Haskins lowest completion percentage of the year (aided by two drops as well).
  • Third Down conversions were 33% for the game. But we only had nine third down plays.

The Bad…

  • Three turnovers.
  • Despite limiting the explosive plays, Nebraska held an edge in overall success rate. And the yards per play of 5.49 is still more than a good defense should permit.

Looking at the Running Backs

Ohio State entered the season with two potential All Big Ten type tailbacks. However, they are not living up to most fan expectations so far in 2018. Let’s take a deeper look into the season for of J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber.

J.K. Dobbins
Att.Pct of Att.YardsPct of Yards
No Gain10.0680.000
1 to 5 Yards84.575264.385
6 to 10 yards33.226248.362
11 to 15 Yards6.04170.102
16+ yards5.034114.166
Mike Weber
No Gain8.0750.000
1 to 5 Yards51.477144.238
6 to 10 yards19.178149.246
11 to 15 Yards11.103129.213
16+ yards8.075209.345

Despite some issues with ball security, Mike Weber is quietly having a decent season averaging 5.66 yards per carry. He has had fewer attempts than Dobbins, and a larger percentage of his attempts have gained 6 or more yards than Dobbins as well.

When looking back to last season, Dobbins had just under 10% of his carries go for zero or negative yards. Twelve percent of those carries have had similar results this season. In 2017, Dobbins had 47% of his carries gain between 1 and 5 yards, and 23% gain between 6 and 10. Twenty percent of his carries gained more than 11 yards last season.

Last season, Weber had 12% of his carries go for zero yards or lose yardage, 55% of Mike’s carries gained between 1 and 4 yards, and 21% resulted in gains between 6 and 10 yards. Elevent percent of his attempts gained 11 or more yards.

Neither back is having the same success as they did a year ago.

Who is Getting The Ball

The diversity of the Ohio State attack continued against Nebraska.

PlayerChancesPct of Chances Yards Pct of Yds YPP
  KJ Hill79.72%398.11%5.57
  P. Campbell68.33%275.61%4.50
  D. McCall22.78%122.49%6.00
  D. Haskins34.17%-11-2.29%-3.67
  JK Dobbins2433.33%18538.46%7.71
  M. Weber1013.89%10020.79%10.00
  L. Farrell34.17%336.86%11.00
  J. Dixon811.11%9619.96%12.00
  B. Victor22.78%102.08%5.00
  T. McLaurin34.17%00.00%0.00
  C. Olave11.39%00.00%0.00
Grand Total72100.00%481100.00%6.68


3 Responses


    Thanks, the numbers are what they are, however, over the season they show a very inconsistent team. True 6 scoring chances by NE is not good, but two came with us up late and one with a ‘lucky deep bomb.’. Not so concerned as the D has done what it usually has done with Urban’s teams, consistent stops during a key stretch! There is one number that concerns me as an ardent student of Meyer’s 6 seasons of deep success with OSU and maybe one that can be researched. Urban’s teams have always had spurts usually in the 2nd and 3rd quarters where they flipped games, and put games out of reach as our D shut out our opponents. However, against PUR, with a series of consistent O threats, OSU only came up with 3 points, instead of 24-28 or 35 pts. (Imagine a 17-7 or 24 -7 lead instead of trailing 21-6!) Against NE, OSU had 6 straight possessions and only came up with 14 points. (Imagine a 37 or 44 or 47-21 pt. lead instead of 30-21!) THAT DOES NOT FALL ON OUR D!!! That falls on our poor Red zone execution, due to the threat of a running attack. Hence, before we bury OSU, we did outgain PUR. that pushed MSU there and scored 14 pts on PSU there in a white out in basically the same time frame that the ‘feared’ TSUN did at home against PSU with a 14-0 lead very late in the 3rd quarter. THAT’S WHAT URBAN NEEDS TO SOLVE and MSU, MD, and TSUN look very winnable!

  2. Those running stats are obvious watching the games, even if one doesn’t know the stats.

Comments are closed.