Minnesota Preview By The Numbers



Penn State

Value (Nat'l Rank)

Value (Nat'l Rank)

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Advantage

Rushing Offense (ypg) 188.7 (32) 162.7 (83) Rushing Defense (ypg) Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Passing Offense (ypg) 238.8 (39) 218.5 (62) Passing Defense (ypg) Push
Pass Efficiency 139.6 (41) 125.0 (55) Pass Efficiency Defense Push
Total Offense (ypg) 427.5 (23) 381.2 (77) Total Defense (ypg) Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Scoring Offense (ppg) 31.2 (38) 23.8 (60) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push
Rushing Defense (ypg) 81.8 (8) 114.5 (99) Rushing Offense (ypg) Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Passing Defense (ypg) 173.8 (26) 205.2 (75) Passing Offense (ypg) Psulogo_medium
Pass Efficiency Defense 99.2 (18) 121.3 (79) Pass Efficiency Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Total Defense (ypg) 255.7 (8) 319.7 (99) Total Offense (ypg) Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Scoring Defense (ppg) 10.2 (6) 27.0 (65) Scoring Offense (ppg) Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Net Punting Yds 35.9 (65) 19.0 (7) Punt Return Yds Minnesota_logo_medium Minnesota_logo_medium
Punt Return Yds 4.9 (99) 39.9 (13) Net Punting Yds  Minnesota_logo_mediumMinnesota_logo_mediumMinnesota_logo_medium
Kickoff Return Yds 15.2 (119) 21.2 (64) Kickoff Return Defense Minnesota_logo_mediumMinnesota_logo_medium
Kickoff Return Defense 23.4 (93) 27.0 (12) Kickoff Return Yds Minnesota_logo_mediumMinnesota_logo_mediumMinnesota_logo_medium
Turnover Margin -0.33 (76) 0.00 (61) Turnover Margin Push
Penalty Yds/Game 29.3 (3) 49.7  (41) Penalty Yds/Game Psulogo_medium
Sacks 3.33 (7) 2.50 (93) Sacks Allowed Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Sacks Allowed 1.17 (26) 2.0 (50) Sacks Push
Redzone Offense (%) 0.80 (70) 0.88 (84) Redzone Defense (%) Push
Redzone Defense (%) 0.67 (5) 0.88 (36) Redzone Offense (%) Psulogo_medium
Redzone TD % 0.64 0.65 Redzone TD % Defense Psulogo_medium
Redzone TD % Defense 0.33 0.64 Redzone TD % Psulogo_medium
3rd Down Conv. % 55.0 (3) 48.4 (112) 3rd Down Defense % Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
3rd Down Defense % 32.6 (25) 39.0 (68) 3rd Down Conv. % Psulogo_medium

Legend

Difference <25 in National Rank = Push

Difference >25 in National Rank = Psulogo_medium

Difference >50 in National Rank = Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium

Difference >75 in National Rank = Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium

Differences >100 in National Rank = Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium

Note:The Redzone TD% and Redzone TD% Defense are calculated by me and not ranked by the NCAA. Determining who has the advantage in these categories is strictly my arbitrary judgement.

More analysis after the jump.

Advantages For Minnesota

Clearly, the Gophers will have an advantage in the kicking game. Usually this is just a function of Penn State being really bad, but in this case the Gophers are also really good ranking in the top 25 in net punting, punt returns, and kickoff returns. It would not surprise me one bit if Minnesota got a special teams touchdown.

I've been scratching my head trying to figure out why Penn State's net punting number is so bad when Jeremy Boone is averaging 48.1 yards per punt with only five returns on the year, and then I realized the 53 yard blocked punt against Iowa counted as a punt return pulling Boone's numbers down like cement shoes. So the advantage for Minnesota in returning punts may be a bit skewed.

Advantages For Penn State

Just about everything other than special teams. It kind of looks like Minnesota can hold their own on defense, but if you look more closely at the rankings, there are several categories where Penn State is just one or two rankings away from earning another  Psulogo_medium.

Looking at Minnesota's offensive numbers just confirms what I've already suspected. They are a one dimensional team that revolves around Eric Decker. Their rushing offense is terrible. Their overall passing numbers are so-so, but Decker's individual numbers are unreal (46 catches, 689 yds, 5 TD). To give you a sense of how big that is, quarterback Adam Weber only has 1224 yards and 6 TD, so Decker is obviously his favorite target. If the Penn State defense can't shut down an offense like this, I'll be shocked.

The glaring advantage I see for Penn State is on third down conversions. Penn State is ranked #3 on offense while Minnesota is ranked #112 on defense. In the redzone, Penn State scores touchdowns 65% of the time while Minnesota gives up touchdowns 65% of the time. The NCAA doesn't track this statistic, but I think this is a big advantage for Penn State. It tells me Penn State should be able to put together some long sustained drives and control this game rather easily.

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