Against Iowa, the Children of the Corn had a horrible sense of déjà vu when Ameer Abdullah muffed a first-half punt, handing the Hawkeyes great field position and putting the Blackshirts back on the field. Just like Nebraska did in the first half against Northwestern. Twice.
Obviously, turnovers on punts are a problem in and of themselves. But when Nebraska is gun-shy to field a punt, its opponent is more likely to get a higher net punting yardage and make Nebraska’s offense go farther to score.
And field position has been an issue for Nebraska. Thanks to FBSDriveStats.com, we know the average starting field position for each team. Wisconsin has averaged starting on its own 33.5 yard spot, the best in the B1G. Nebraska, on the other hand, has averaged starting on its own 29.8 yard spot, seventh in the B1G.
(Notice I said the 33.5 and 29.8 yard spot, not yard line. Obviously, there is no 33.5 yard line, just space between the 33-yard line and the 34-yard line. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when people say things like that. Just like when a referee says the ball will be placed on the one-foot line. There is no one-foot line! Stop saying there is!)
If Nebraska can get something out of its punt return game, or at least cleanly field fair catches, then the resulting improvement in field position should help NU against the Badgers on Saturday.