Thursday, October 29, 2009

By The Numbers: Northwestern

Here are the NCAA Stats for Penn State and Northwestern:

NCAA Stats Comparison
Category:Penn St.Northwestern
Passing Offense3723
Total Offense2349
Scoring Offense3257
Rushing Defense439
Turnovers Gained3815
Passes Had Intercepted5168
Pass Defense968
Net Punting110116
Punt Returns9991
Kickoff Returns116103
Turnover Margin4561
Fumbles Recovered8023
Passes Intercepted1818
Fumbles Lost3295
Turnovers Lost3992
Passing Efficiency2153
Pass Efficiency Defense473
Total Defense346
Scoring Defense161
Fewest Penalties Per Game639
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game427
Punt Return Yardage Defense11749
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense8368
Offense Third-down Efficiency36
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency5432
Defense Third-down Efficiency1157
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency831
Tackles for Loss473
Offense Tackles for Loss1657
Pass Sacks836
Pass Sacks Allowed2078
Time of Possession652
First Downs2214
First Downs Allowed444
Red Zone Efficiency4419
Red Zone Efficiency - Defense115
Average NCAA Rank:32.4952.43
Weighted Avg. Rank:26.561.5

Just like last week, there is no indication statistically, that this should be a close game. (Northwestern is actually better than THEM in average NCAA rank, but not when weighted for important categories.)

Offensively, the Wildcats have a slightly better passing unit, but this will be offset by Penn State's better ranked pass defense. Both teams are excellent on third down conversions, but Penn State has the edge defensively. Penn State has the third best overall defense in the nation and the best scoring defense in the country.

NW is actually worse in TO margin and TO's lost. Both teams are struggling with KO returns and net punting.

The factors which work against Penn State this week aren't on paper. They are a showdown on the horizon with the Buckeyes and a natural letdown against an allegedly inferior opponent after a big win. These disadvantages can be nuetralized by coaching and leadership--which I think Penn State has at this point.

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