Wednesday, November 18, 2009

By The Numbers: Michigan State

Here are the current NCAA rankings for Penn State and MSU:

NCAA Stats Comparison
Category:Penn St.Michigan St.
Passing Offense4721
Total Offense4534
Scoring Offense5130
Rushing Defense824
Turnovers Gained56109
Passes Had Intercepted5937
Pass Defense1794
Net Punting11448
Punt Returns10760
Kickoff Returns1137
Turnover Margin6188
Fumbles Recovered6969
Passes Intercepted36108
Fumbles Lost3149
Turnovers Lost4335
Passing Efficiency3618
Pass Efficiency Defense1679
Total Defense950
Scoring Defense456
Fewest Penalties Per Game371
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game363
Punt Return Yardage Defense11759
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense5762
Offense Third-down Efficiency470
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency5544
Defense Third-down Efficiency1690
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency1277
Tackles for Loss772
Offense Tackles for Loss1025
Pass Sacks919
Pass Sacks Allowed1818
Time of Possession1682
First Downs4442
First Downs Allowed1058
Red Zone Efficiency2835
Red Zone Efficiency - Defense1119
Average NCAA Rank:37.1156.46
Weighted Avg. Rank:37.4250.75

Once again, Penn State out-performs its opponent . . . ON PAPER.

Michigan State leads the usual categories . . . special teams. But defensively, the Spartans do not match up well. Note the marked disparity in Red Zone defense--PSU is the best in the country while MSU is one away from being worst. Of course, if we play on special teams like we did last week--the last two weeks--we probably won't have good enough field position to even get close enough to sniff the red zone.

The two offenses are comparable, but PSU has the defensive edge.

There's certainly no indication as the season has gone on that our special teams will improve, so I look for the Spartans to take advantage of field position and keep this game close. Penn State actually is ranked higher in turnover margin, albeit by a slim advantage.

The oddsmakers pick Penn State by 3.

Michigan State is the sixth most difficult team we have faced statistically (see chart below.) I do not include Akron since that was the first game of the season and no stats were available for comparison. These comparisons are based on the teams AT THE TIME WE PLAYED THEM--not current stats. There are no stats for Eastern Illinois either.

OpponentNCAA RankPSU RankDelta
Ohio State39.4130.41-9
Michigan State56.4637.11-19.35

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