Nebraska Football: Over/Under Stat Projections for Ameer Abdullah in 2014
Nebraska fans traveling to Las Vegas may be looking for a prudent investment to follow during the course of the 2014 season, and one option could be to make over/under selections on the performance of I-back Ameer Abdullah. For those unfamiliar with gambling investment vocabulary, an over/under bet investment is where a number is selected, and you choose whether the ultimate result will be over or under that number. For game show fans, think Card Sharks (and you have to see this video, just for Alex Trebek as a game show contestant and with the most epic lapel, 'stache, and hair in the history of ever).
So forget the stock market. You don’t need to talk with Chuck. Just read a certain smart and particularly handsome analyst to help guide your investment future.
Disclaimer: Advice given is solely for informational and recreational purposes, and should not be used in any manner to determine your retirement funds, children’s college education or any other source of revenue that your spouse would be upset if you lost.
Statistics from cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted.
Last year: 1690 yards
O/U for this year: 1725 yards
With the injury to Taylor Martinez, last year Abdullah became the true focus of Nebraska’s offense. He responded, even with a beat-up offensive line, by producing 6.01 yards per carry.
Although it might be a fool’s errand, I do think that Abdullah will get fewer carries in 2014 in an attempt to spread the ball amongst the I-back corps. Yes, I know we’ve thought this many times in the past, with Bo Pelini and Tim Beck ultimately sticking with their bell cow. But this year’s crop of I-backs is so diverse and so talented, with Imani Cross and Terrell Newby offering completely different skill sets and Adam Taylor flashing the potential to be a blend of the two. Combine that with quarterback Tommy Armstrong likely seeing more option carries, and I’m going to put Abdullah’s carry number lower than last year.
But I’m putting the over/under rushing total higher than last year. I believe an increasingly diverse offense, combined with what looks to be an improved offensive line (particularly if Alex Lewis blossoms at left tackle) could make Abdullah’s carries more effective.
Last year: 232 yards
O/U for this year: 350 yards
So why the uptick in yardage? Simple. Towards the end of last year, Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck seemed to re-discover the screen pass. In theory, Abdullah should be a dangerous weapon on the screen, with his elusiveness and vision. If the screen does in fact become a staple of Nebraska’s offense in 2014, the over on this number might be a very good investment.
Last year: 281 rushing attempts, 26 receptions
O/U for this year: 265 rushing attempts, 35 receptions
The rationale for both numbers has been discussed earlier. I do think this is the year where Nebraska finally diversifies its rushing attack and gets more backs involved. It’s hard to see why Imani Cross and, especially, Terrell Newby got so many touches last year if the coaching staff didn’t want to see them on the field. Look for that trend to continue, which will decrease Abdullah’s carries.
Conversely, I suspect we will see the addition of a screen or a screen-like attack added to Nebraska’s offense. It’s a great way to get the ball to playmakers, like Abdullah, in space. And I think Nebraska’s offensive line this year should be athletic enough to run the play successfully.
Last year: 9 rushing, 2 receiving
O/U for this year: 10 rushing, 4 receiving
Ask anyone who plays fantasy football. They will tell you that touchdowns are the hardest thing to predict. You can have one running back break a 99-yard run and get tripped up at the one. Then another running back will come in and vulture the one-yard touchdown plunge.
Having said that, I do think that Abdullah’s touchdown production on the ground should go up a little, simply because I think his overall rushing production will be more efficient. And I set the over/under for his receiving touchdowns to double from 2013 simply on the belief that a screen game, or something similar to it, will be included in Nebraska’s offense next year.
Last year: 5 fumbles, 5 fumbles lost
O/U for this year: 4 fumbles, 3 fumbles lost
This is really the big number, both for Abdullah individually and Nebraska as a team. It’s no secret that turnovers are the single biggest barrier between Nebraska and a conference title. Abdullah has had his fumble problems, and last year’s numbers were bad. But frighteningly, they were better than in 2012, where he had eight fumbles and lost six.
So if the progression is downward, and we have already projected him to get fewer carries, setting the over/under on fumbles and fumbles lost below last year’s totals seems a reasonable investment.
Fumble stats from teamrankings.com.
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