Thursday, September 24, 2009

By The Numbers: Iowa

According to the NCAA statistics, here are how PSU and Iowa stack up:

NCAA Stats Comparison
Category:Penn St.Iowa
Passing Offense2555
Total Offense4668
Scoring Offense4870
Rushing Defense468
Turnovers Gained8214
Passes Had Intercepted6060
Pass Defense2925
Net Punting424
Punt Returns10379
Kickoff Returns118109
Turnover Margin8920
Fumbles Recovered8961
Passes Intercepted398
Fumbles Lost6230
Turnovers Lost6449
Passing Efficiency3064
Pass Efficiency Defense3411
Total Defense736
Scoring Defense215
Fewest Penalties Per Game616
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game59
Punt Return Yardage Defense6816
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense10651
Offense Third-down Efficiency824
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency5399
Defense Third-down Efficiency2536
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency1680
Tackles for Loss496
Offense Tackles for Loss3242
Pass Sacks1176
Pass Sacks Allowed5593
Time of Possession2211
First Downs2143
First Downs Allowed418
Red Zone Efficiency10121
Red Zone Efficiency - Defense2101
Average NCAA Rank:42.8947.24
Weighted Avg. Rank:35.9242.17

Statistically speaking, this game is much closer than last year--and we all know how that turned out.

So far, Iowa has beaten Northern Iowa 17-16, blocking TWO field goals to preserve the win. They defeated Iowa State handily, and Arizona 27-24. No common opponents.

I don't know if it is safe to say that our opponents so far are better than UNI, which is a FCS team, but they are certainly probably close ot a Temple or an Akron. I really was impressed by how much Syracuse improved--they beat Northwestern this past weekend, but are probably not on par with Arizona, but perhaps closer than we might think.

The home field advantage is certainly in favor of the Lions.

What surprised me the most about Iowa's numbers was the defense--I thought they would be better than that, given two cupcake games and one mediocre Arizona team. And while the Lions are 4th in the nation in tackles for loss, Iowa is 96th.

It would appear that Iowa has an advantage in special teams, leading most if not all punting and kicking categories both offensively and defensively. Also of concern: Iowa leads the turnover categories.

If PSU limits turnovers and mistakes on special teams, this game should not be particularly close. I still stand by my assumption that we have not seen a fraction of the HD offense so far this year, and I think the O-line will continue to improve and the team as a whole will be emotionally up for this match-up. That is not to say that the Hawks aren't going to be pumped, aren't going to bring their A-game, or even be intimidated by the atmosphere. I just think if both teams play to their potential, PSU will win.

And I would not be surprised if the score isn't reminiscent of Minnesota 2005, when PSU pasted the Gophers 44-14 despite a sloppy start to the season marked by turnovers. Everyone was worried about containing Minnesota's running game--and we all worried about nothing.

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