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:

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NCAA Stats Comparison

Category: Penn St. LSU
Rushing 38 84
Passing Offense 40 99
Total Offense 36 108
Scoring Offense 41 74
Rushing Defense 10 44
Turnovers Gained 67 86
Passes Had Intercepted 41 22
Pass Defense 19 29
Net Punting 106 13
Punt Returns 107 1
Kickoff Returns 107 110
Turnover Margin 46 20
Fumbles Recovered 94 114
Passes Intercepted 33 33
Fumbles Lost 17 5
Turnovers Lost 28 5
Passing Efficiency 21 49
Pass Efficiency Defense 14 18
Total Defense 8 28
Scoring Defense 4 12
Fewest Penalties Per Game 7 68
Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game 3 36
Punt Return Yardage Defense 116 9
Kickoff Return Yardage Defense 62 3
Offense Third-down Efficiency 7 61
Offense Fourth-down Efficiency 56 111
Defense Third-down Efficiency 14 44
Defense Fourth-down Efficiency 10 72
Tackles for Loss 6 43
Offense Tackles for Loss 8 82
Pass Sacks 8 78
Pass Sacks Allowed 27 107
Time of Possession 13 103
First Downs 38 85
First Downs Allowed 7 60
Red Zone Efficiency 25 25
Red Zone Efficiency – Defense 1 28
Average NCAA Rank: 34.73 53.22
Weighted Avg. Rank: 31.92 48.17

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

Filed under Capital One Bowl, football, LSU, Penn State, statistics

One response to “By The Numbers: LSU

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

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