Thursday, October 1, 2009

By The Numbers: Illinois

Here are the NCAA statistics for Penn State and Illinois:

NCAA Stats Comparison
Category:Penn St.Illinois
Passing Offense40110
Total Offense5682
Scoring Offense75108
Rushing Defense1159
Turnovers Gained7588
Passes Had Intercepted10479
Pass Defense19100
Net Punting9957
Punt Returns93107
Kickoff Returns115101
Turnover Margin9889
Fumbles Recovered10155
Passes Intercepted2778
Fumbles Lost7019
Turnovers Lost9157
Passing Efficiency52110
Pass Efficiency Defense23102
Total Defense990
Scoring Defense688
Fewest Penalties Per Game6106
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game3107
Punt Return Yardage Defense11324
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense10828
Offense Third-down Efficiency1165
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency1875
Defense Third-down Efficiency21106
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency988
Tackles for Loss537
Offense Tackles for Loss35105
Pass Sacks1285
Pass Sacks Allowed59111
Time of Possession3672
First Downs3473
First Downs Allowed689
Red Zone Efficiency10049
Red Zone Efficiency - Defense793
Average NCAA Rank:49.3879.11
Weighted Avg. Rank:47.3385.83

Penn State is abysmal in special teams categories. 115th in KO returns and 108th in KO defense. 98th in turnover margin, but there is a bright spot: Illinois is 89th in TO margin and 101st. in KO returns. We'll make them look better this week.

Going by the stats, Illinois should get more penalties than us.

Offensively, we have a pretty decent ranking in 3rd down efficiency--much better than the Illini. Our defense is also siginificantly better on third down than Illinois.

Defensively, the teams are night and day.

Compared to Iowa, we match up much better against the Illini. But turnovers--if they continue--will hurt us. The KO situation will put us in bad field position. That will hurt us like it did last week.

One thing that stats don't tell us is how conservative the playcalling will be. This is the first road game of the year, the team's confidence is shaky and the coaching staff is hell-bent on protecting Clark. I am afraid things will be scaled back, thereby effectively negating any advantage we have. We will have to depend on not turning the ball over, not making the critical mistakes, and basically play not to lose this game. I hope Joe proves me wrong.

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