The No. 18 UCLA Bruins are set to take on the 23rd-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. With a 9 a.m. start time (PDT), it’ll be a really nice start to your Saturday.
Because this game is going to be good. Damn good, even. Last season at the Rose Bowl, the two teams gave us one of the better contests of the year, with the Bruins taking a 36-30 victory over the somewhat-heavily-favored Cornhuskers.
This year’s teams look a bit different. Let’s preview this game by looking at some intriguing numbers from Nebraska:
The percentage of passes completed from Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez. It’s fair to note that this time last year, Martinez looked like a Heisman contender. This mini-campaign lasted a pair of weeks before Martinez reverted to his old, turnover-prone ways against the Bruins in 2012.
The amount of total offense per game in yards that Nebraska has accumulated. While the two teams they’ve played aren’t in BCS conferences (Wyoming is still Mountain West and Southern Miss is in the C-USA), their offense does look potent. But much like the above stat, this one was pretty high heading into the Cornhuskers’ game with the Bruins, though Nebraska did earn 439 yards of total offense.
The percentage of run plays Nebraska has called this year. That’s one of the highest in the nation, and is a true testament to 1) how mobile of a QB Martinez is, and 2) how little head coach Bo Pelini trusts Martinez’s arm. This bodes well for UCLA; the Bruins’ secondary is widely regarded as an area of weakness while the front seven is considered one of the best in the nation.
The amount of yards per play that Nebraska allows its opponents. This number indicates Nebraska’s relatively lackluster defense since it allows its opponents to be more efficient than the average FBS team. Underscoring this is the fact that this average is just above their own offense’s yards per play stat (6.3).
The rate at which Nebraska scores while their offense is in the redzone. Though this comes against lesser opponents, entering the endzone every single time your offense is within the 20-yard-line is impressive, and it’ll be an area of concern for the Bruins (though with Jim Mora’s bend-don’t-break philosophy, Nebraska’s redzone offense will be tested).
It’s a couple time zones away, but if you’re looking to cheer on UCLA this Saturday, Bruins vs. Husker tickets are available for as low as $75. It’s going to be an uphill battle so any fan support will be greatly appreciated by the team.