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Four Phil Steele Facts: Nebraska Cornhuskers

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Numbers never lie. What do they tell us about this 6/1 favorite to make the CFP?

Nebraska v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Phil Steele puts out the best college football preview magazine every year. It’s not even a contest. In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of his first publication we at Bucky’s 5th Quarter are going to find four interesting facts about each team on Wisconsin’s schedule, including the Badgers, and break them down for you.

Phil, we love your magazine and we also love your mustache.

NUMBER 1: 6

As in, straight losses to Wisconsin. In fact, the Huskers have only beaten the Badgers once (in the 2012 regular season, which was then rectified in the 2012 B1G Championship Game that Wisconsin won 70-31) since joining the conference in 2011. Nebraska has never held Wisconsin under 23 points in a game and that one win came by a mere field goal. I remember the 2011 game fondly. It was a night game in Madison and Nebraska’s first Big Ten game ever. There were tens of thousands of Husker fans in Madison, many of whom didn’t even have tickets, they just wanted to be in town because they were positive that they were going to mop the floor with the lowly Badgers. One 48-17 curb-stomping later and I only pay attention to Nebraska when I get tired of making fun of Iowa.

NUMBER 2: 8

Total wins the past two years AND the number of losses the Huskers have had in each of those same two years. Let’s list ‘em off real quick to really get the juices flowing! In 2017 and 2018 the mighty Nebraska Cornhuskers have beaten: Arkansas State, Rutgers, Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, Bethune-Cookman, Illinois again and Michigan State. Poor Illinois. Nebraska has also lost eight, out of ten, road games in these two seasons and couldn’t even cover the spread versus Bethune-Cookman. It is really quite funny how many pundits, Steele included, mention Nebraska winning four of their last six games in 2018...conveniently failing to note that they had lost the previous 10 (!). I mean, if you want to talk about momentum, the Huskers are coming into the season on a one game losing streak.

(It is also interesting that Nebraska has lost four straight to Iowa and only a field goal in overtime in 2014 kept it from being six.)

Nebraska v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

NUMBER 3: 435

The average amount of yards the Blackshirts defense has given up over the last two years. The Huskers hang their hat on their defense. It’s why they have their own special little nickname for it after all! But lately? The Nebraska defense stinks and no one is afraid of it. To be fair, Nebraska did improve in 2018 (from 436 to 434) so they are at least trending in the right direction. The rush defense has allowed 5.0 and 5.6 yards per carry the last two years and is one of the only reasons Jonathan Taylor might want to come back for his senior season. You know, to see if he can rush for 600 yards in one game.

NUMBER 4: 420

Nebraska football players just can not stop smoking, or at least possessing if we are going with the Bill Clinton “smoked but did not inhale” defense, weed.

In every single one of those Omaha.com stories you’ll find a variation of this sentence, but with the exact same quote: A Nebraska athletics spokesperson said, “We are aware of the situation and are addressing it.”

I’m sure they are, I’m sure they are.