By The Numbers: THEM

Here are the NCAA statistics for Penn State and THEM:

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NCAA Stats Comparison

Category: Penn St. Michigan
Rushing 25 8
Passing Offense 37 86
Total Offense 19 25
Scoring Offense 42 9
Rushing Defense 6 58
Turnovers Gained 68 68
Passes Had Intercepted 68 85
Pass Defense 14 80
Net Punting 86 2
Punt Returns 96 71
Kickoff Returns 119 37
Turnover Margin 67 88
Fumbles Recovered 97 85
Passes Intercepted 31 43
Fumbles Lost 39 66
Turnovers Lost 63 82
Passing Efficiency 32 54
Pass Efficiency Defense 12 38
Total Defense 5 64
Scoring Defense 2 46
Fewest Penalties Per Game 9 30
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game 5 36
Punt Return Yardage Defense 116 46
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense 84 87
Offense Third-down Efficiency 3 44
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency 64 49
Defense Third-down Efficiency 21 34
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency 4 56
Tackles for Loss 7 33
Offense Tackles for Loss 10 88
Pass Sacks 11 86
Pass Sacks Allowed 16 49
Time of Possession 9 114
First Downs 16 30
First Downs Allowed 3 47
Red Zone Efficiency 67 78
Red Zone Efficiency – Defense 1 47
Average NCAA Rank: 37.14 55.38
Weighted Avg. Rank: 28.92 46.5

The only common opponent for both to date is !*w@. Both teams lost, and both teams had late opportunities to tie/win that went for naught on turnovers. For all the talk about how close this game will be, the NCAA stats are heavily in favor of the Lions. THEM leads significantly in a few categories: net punting, punt return yards, kick-off return yards and kickoff return defense. I hope they lead in punting this week as well, since you don’t put points on the board if you are punting! They are also better in offensive fourth down conversions, but that is a rather dubious honor since it implies that the team has had to go for it on fourth enough times to pad those stats. When you look at the actual numbers, as opposed to the rank, you see PSU has a 4th down conversion of 50%. That is four attempts with 2 conversions. But for THEM, they rank higher based on a 56% efficiency–NINE attempts with five converted. That said, I really hope this game doesn’t come down to whether they are able to convert a fourth down or not.

Another quirky stat is the time of possession, where THEM ranks 114th in the country. Yet they have the 8th ranked rushing defense. You would think that a team that good at running the ball, would be pretty good at chewing up the clock. Apparently not. But their offense does make good use of its time, being 9th ranked in the nation in scoring. The time of possession skewing is probably a combination of turnovers, poor passing, and poor defense. They can stop the run, but not the pass. PSU averages TOP of 32:57 while THEM averages 27:07, so the actual disparity of those ranks is about 6 minutes–give or take a COUPLE OF SECONDS! We really should not bet atlking about time in Ann Arbor.

I think the key stats for a Penn State win on the road is our rush defense against their rush offense. Force THEM to pass, and we will have a good chance to win. If we can’t contain their run game, it could be a long, dreary afternoon.

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Filed under football, Penn State, statistics, THEM

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