The Notre Dame game seemed to spawn a lot of playcalling discussion. Here's a look at some of the statistics that involve playcall and formation. Remember to check the Notre Dame script for the play-by-play calls.
Caution - these aren't official stats, but they are the best I can do from watching game tape. I'm sure the coaches have it broken down differently and much more usefully. But for Joe Fan, this will do.
If you'd have asked me in the off-season what I thought the Huskers' most frequently called formations are, I would have said Pro, then Ace, then Tight. I would only have been correct on Tight for this game. Note the high percentage of 2-TE formations - this percentage has been more or less the case for the three games that I've done drive charts for. It only underscores the fact that for all intents and purposes, NU considers the top two TEs as starters. Here and elsewhere, I consistently see comments asking why the Huskers don't "run more 2 TEs?" My answer is that they run it WAY more than most fans think we do, to the tune of half the offense.
Interestingly, and as Greg pointed out last week, NU is showing a lot of TE motion. They're beginning to explore the H-back concept.
GENERAL PLAY SELECTION
Here are some statistics on general play selection. Sacks are counted as yardage AGAINST the play type.
For the running plays, the yardage mirrors frequency (realizing that the option's are heavily helped out by the big Crouch TD run). But look at passing. They were significantly more effective in dropback passing than they were in play action. As I watched the game, I thought NU was scoring pretty well with play action passing. But when you take into account the sacks and the incompletions, it wasn't a tremendously effective play selection for them. When you beak down the play action passes, you see the following:
There have been numerous comments in various internet forums regarding a desire for more play action passing, especially on the final three drives. In my opinion, considering that :
I can see why they avoided it at the end of the game.
I'm defining these as no gain or lost yardage. Total of 20 out of 76 or so plays.
OK, back to play action passing. NU ran it our typical amount (from above, 13% of play selection). But check out the yards lost - 77% of all yards lost from scrimmage came on sacks in the play action game. Nebraska gained good yardage on a couple of plays, but when considered as a whole, it was very much high risk, high reward. I personally tend to consider play action passing the safer and more productive component of the passing game, but this was definitely NOT the case in the ND game.