October 26, 2012
Borton's Blog: Friday Fast Five
This Friday Fast Five entry centers on Nebraska, and some key (albeit overlooked) Cornhuskers numbers. You already know they lead the Big Ten in scoring offense (41.6), total offense (512.4) and rushing offense (279.0) - or at least you should.
Here are some less out-there numbers that could have a huge impact on the Saturday night showdown in Lincoln.
1. Turnover Margin -- The 'Huskers are dead last in the Big Ten, at minus-9. They've lost 13 fumbles and five interceptions, while getting the ball back for their offense only nine times. Greg Mattison has been pushing hard for the Wolverines to create more turnovers, and this might be the moment.
2. Nebraska Interceptions -- The Cornhuskers have picked off just three passes in seven games. Michigan will need to loosen up its offense a little from the post-Notre Dame lockdown in this one, and Nebraska could provide gateway to do so more comfortably.
3. Penalties -- Nebraska is the second-most penalized team in the Big Ten, a cause for concern in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers are setting themselves back an average of 62.1 yards per game, second in the Big Ten only to Ohio State (65.1).
4. Third-Down Conversions -- Bo Pelini's team has rolled up big scores by keeping the chains moving when it counts. They're third in the Big Ten in third-down conversions, making good on 45.1 percent. Two comments on this: one, Michigan opponents are converting only 35.4 percent of the time, so something has to give. And two, the Wolverines lead the Big Ten in third-down conversion percentage, at 49.5, so they will stress an already stressed NU defense.
5. Sacks -- Nebraska has sacked opposing quarterbacks a Big Ten-best 22 times. Michigan has given up a Big Ten-fewest five sacks. How the Cornhuskers track Denard Robinson (or not) will obviously play a role here.
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