|NCAA Stats Comparison|
|Passes Had Intercepted||64||8||-56|
|Pass Efficiency Defense||3||108||105|
|Fewest Penalties Per Game||33||28||-5|
|Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game||37||28||-9|
|Punt Return Yardage Defense||65||6||-59|
|Kickoff Return Yardage Defense||85||12||-73|
|Offense Third-down Efficiency||73||20||-53|
|Offense Fourth-down Efficiency||5||102||97|
|Defense Third-down Efficiency||32||114||82|
|Defense Fourth-down Efficiency||87||97||10|
|Tackles for Loss||32||96||64|
|Offense Tackles for Loss||6||94||88|
|Pass Sacks Allowed||18||102||84|
|Time of Possession||27||73||46|
|First Downs Allowed||7||61||54|
|Red Zone Efficiency||91||91||0|
|Red Zone Efficiency - Defense||119||60||-59|
|Average NCAA Rank:||47.78||59.3||11.52|
|Weighted Avg. Rank:||47.33||70.08||22.75|
Unlike Purdue last week, whose weighted stats were considerably better than the straight up average, Northwestern is actually worse when key stats are weighted.
In the offensive categories, NW is ranked on average 21.25 spots better than PSU.
In the defensive categories of rushing, pass, pass efficiency, scoring and total defense, Penn State is ranked on average 85.6 spots BETTER than the Wildcats.
Neither team performs well in the red zone. If it weren't so sad I'd be laughing. And as good as our defense is, our red zone defense is tied for last in the country. It's like the goal line is some weird electromagnetic force that creates havoc whenever our players get near it, whether they are on offense or defense. It's creepy really.
But on the bright side, they can't get any worse and there's only one way to go from here.
My preseason countdown had this game ranked as our 6th most difficult game. Illinois was #7 and Iowa was #5. Here was my prediction:
I think Penn State will be 6-1 going into this game and building momentum. I look for a shaky start, a solid third quarter and pulling away with a win by at least 10 points. Don't ask me why. It's just a feeling I have. It might be gas.
I may be a fool, but I'm standing by that prediction, even though the line has us favored by 4. The best thing for a struggling offense is to face a struggling defense.