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Stat tracking: Third-and-longs make for a long day for NU; Bell gets his catches
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Stat tracking: Third-and-longs make for a long day for NU; Bell gets his catches

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Purdue vs. Nebraska, 10.30

Nebraska receiver Oliver Martin catches a pass against Purdue's Jaylan Alexander in the fourth quarter Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Scott Frost addressed the media after the Huskers' loss to Purdue.

Nebraska's struggles in Big Ten play continued Saturday with a loss to Purdue at Memorial Stadium. Here's a look at some statistical areas that played large roles in the outcome:

Third-down yardage

Entering Saturday: Nebraska ranked fourth in the conference and 42nd nationally in third-down success (44%). Purdue was 19th nationally in third-down defense.

Saturday: Nebraska's offense looked out of sync most of the day. A big part of the problem was NU's inability to make hay on early downs.

Nebraska's average yards to go on third down was 7.7 (It was nearly 8 by the end of the third quarter). In turn, that led the Huskers to converting only 4 of 10 third-down tries.

Oddly, Nebraska's average gain on first downs was 8.4 — a number that was aided by a 33-yard run by Jaquez Yant and a couple of big pass plays.

Time of possession

Entering Saturday: A big part of the loss at Minnesota was time of possession. The Gophers held the ball for 38:01 two weeks against Nebraska.

Saturday: Purdue, which entered the game ranked 129th nationally in rushing yards, held the ball for 38:38.

Purdue's first three drives ate up 4:08, 6:24 and 6:57. Another drive went 5:47, a 14-play march that ended with the Boilermakers taking a 28-17 lead.

Purdue wasn't great on third downs (6-of-17), but did enough to keep the chains moving. And NU had eight drives of four plays or less.

That will do it.

Bell's production

Entering Saturday: Purdue junior David Bell is one of the top wide receivers in the Big Ten, and he entered the day with 44 catches for 712 yards and four touchdowns. Needless to say, he was atop the Huskers' scouting report.

Saturday: Bell had nine catches for 74 yards by the midway point of the fourth quarter, though Purdue found other ways on offense to hurt the Huskers.

Purdue still went to its best target. Bell was targeted 14 times, and his longest catch was 21 yards. He didn't have the big catch, but he had several to help keep the Boilermakers moving the chains.

Red-zone opportunities

Entering Saturday: Nebraska ranked 106th nationally in red-zone offense, scoring at a 76% clip inside the 20. Defensively, NU ranked 100th (90%).

Saturday: Nebraska was 4-for-4 in the red zone, scoring three touchdowns and a field goal. The Huskers' struggles, however, came between the 20s.

Purdue was 3-for-4 in the red zone, scoring three touchdowns.

 

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