Thursday, December 31, 2009

By The Numbers: LSU

Penn State comes into the Cap-One Bowl with a 10-2 record, with losses to Iowa (10th in the BCS) and Ohio State (8th in the BCS.)

LSU is ranked higher in the BCS at 12 (PSU is 13), but the Tigers have 3 losses: 13-3 vs Florida (BCS #5), 24-15 vs Bama (BCS #1) and 25-23 against Ole Miss (not in the BCS top 25.)

With the Mississippi game notwithstanding, the two teams appear pretty even.

But looking at the NCAA stats for PSU and LSU:

NCAA Stats Comparison
Category:Penn St.LSU
Passing Offense4099
Total Offense36108
Scoring Offense4174
Rushing Defense1044
Turnovers Gained6786
Passes Had Intercepted4122
Pass Defense1929
Net Punting10613
Punt Returns1071
Kickoff Returns107110
Turnover Margin4620
Fumbles Recovered94114
Passes Intercepted3333
Fumbles Lost175
Turnovers Lost285
Passing Efficiency2149
Pass Efficiency Defense1418
Total Defense828
Scoring Defense412
Fewest Penalties Per Game768
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game336
Punt Return Yardage Defense1169
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense623
Offense Third-down Efficiency761
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency56111
Defense Third-down Efficiency1444
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency1072
Tackles for Loss643
Offense Tackles for Loss882
Pass Sacks878
Pass Sacks Allowed27107
Time of Possession13103
First Downs3885
First Downs Allowed760
Red Zone Efficiency2525
Red Zone Efficiency - Defense128
Average NCAA Rank:34.7353.22
Weighted Avg. Rank:31.9248.17

Both teams struggle in kick-off returns, but LSU has a distinctive edge in punting and this could be key. Penn State lost the Iowa game on a special teams play that turned things around, and the poor field position against the Buckeyes was in large part to special teams problems and a tough Buckeye defense. I don't expect the LSU defense to be any softer.

LSU's offense appears to be a weakness for them, but they have faced some tough defenses in Florida and Bama. I'm not going to get into that argument of which conference is better or stronger. I think both the Big Ten and the SEC can hold their own--at least the teams at the top, and LSU and PSU fit into that category.

Hopefully, PSU will have spent some time looking at special teams this last month and some changes will have been made. Penn State cannot afford to give up field position on punts or worse yet, points on returns. Defensively, I don't think LSU will move the ball consistently. Offensively, Penn State goes as Daryll Clark goes. If the LSU defense rattles him, I look for a long, frustrating afternoon.

My heart says PSU will prevail. The stats seem to indicate we have the overall better team. But I fear the problems we have seen all season will still be there and will come back to haunt us. I hope that I am wrong.

1 comment:

Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch LSU Tigers, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.