Northwestern Wildcats By The Numbers

Penn State

Value (Nat'l Rank)

Value (Nat'l Rank)

Northwestern

Advantage

Rushing Offense (ypg) 135.8 (84) 126.6 (35) Rushing Defense (ypg) Northwestern_wildcats_logo_medium
Passing Offense (ypg) 213.9 (64) 244.8 (99) Passing Defense (ypg) Psulogo_medium
Pass Efficiency 116.4 (93) 117.5 (38) Pass Efficiency Defense Northwestern_wildcats_logo_mediumNorthwestern_wildcats_logo_medium
Total Offense (ypg) 349.6 (78) 371.4 (66) Total Defense (ypg) Push
Scoring Offense (ppg) 22.9 (86) 20.3 (T-34) Scoring Defense (ppg) Northwestern_wildcats_logo_mediumNorthwestern_wildcats_logo_medium
Rushing Defense (ypg) 155.0 (66) 148.1 (66) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 188.1 (24) 266.8 (25) Passing Offense (ypg) Push
Pass Efficiency Defense 128.5 (72) 161.6 (9) Pass Efficiency Northwestern_wildcats_logo_mediumNorthwestern_wildcats_logo_medium
Total Defense (ypg) 343.1 (44) 414.9 (40) Total Offense (ypg) Push
Scoring Defense (ppg) 20.0 (T-29) 26.6 (64) Scoring Offense (ppg) Psulogo_medium
Net Punting Yds 39.4 (18) 7.2 (72) Punt Return Yds Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Punt Return Yds 7.6 (68) 37.6 (42) Net Punting Yds Northwestern_wildcats_logo_medium
Kickoff Return Yds 25.5 (14) 19.7 (29) Kickoff Return Defense Push
Kickoff Return Defense 20.3 (41) 21.6 (64) Kickoff Return Yds Push
Turnover Margin -0.13 (63) 0.63 (22) Turnover Margin Northwestern_wildcats_logo_medium
Penalty Yds/Game 23.9 (1) 66.3 (103) Penalty Yds/Game Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Sacks 1.13 (107) 3.38 (113) Sacks Allowed Push
Sacks Allowed 0.88 (T-14) 1.50 (T-85) Sacks Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Redzone Offense (%) 0.76 (T-95) 0.83 (T-68) Redzone Defense (%) Northwestern_wildcats_logo_medium
Redzone Defense (%) 1.0 (T-120) 0.82 (T-64) Redzone Offense (%) Northwestern_wildcats_logo_mediumNorthwestern_wildcats_logo_medium
Redzone TD % 0.45 0.52 Redzone TD % Defense Northwestern_wildcats_logo_medium
Redzone TD % Defense 0.72 0.59 Redzone TD % Northwestern_wildcats_logo_mediumNorthwestern_wildcats_logo_medium
3rd Down Conv. % 40.5 (52) 31.8 (11) 3rd Down Defense % Northwestern_wildcats_logo_medium
3rd Down Defense % 28.3 (3) 50.8 (12) 3rd Down Conv. % Push
1st Downs Per Game 18.3 (T-81) 19.6 (70) 1st Downs Allowed PG Push
1st Downs Allowed PG 17.3 (T-26) 23.3 (21) 1st Downs Per Game Push

 

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

Difference >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.    

Now, looking at that chart you would tend to say that Northwestern and Penn State are two pretty evenly matched teams. But as always, numbers can be scewed by the level of competition. This is Northwestern's schedule and results so far this season. I also included the currect record of their opponents.

@ Vanderbilt (2-6) W 23-21
Illinois State (4-5) W 37-3
@ Rice (2-6) W 30-13
Central Michigan (2-7)   W 30-25
@ Minnesota (1-8) W 29-28
Purdue (4-4) L 17-20
Michigan State (8-1) L 27-35
@ Indiana (4-4) W 20-17

As you can see, Northwestern has played one team with a winning record. Their out of conference schedule is a joke. You don't get credit for scheduling an SEC team when that team is Vanderbilt. Once they got into Big Ten play the Wildcats were brought back down to earth. They are 2-2 with their two wins coming in close games against Indiana and Minnesota. Give them credit for taking care of business, but I don't really know what to make of their numbers.

On the other side of the coin, Penn State has had to play Alabama, Iowa, and an upstart Illinois team that is playing some mighty fine defense this year. And while Penn State has been turning things around in the past few weeks, their offensive performance from the first half of the season is going to weigh like an anchor throughout the season. Granted, I know Penn State's improved offensive numbers have been greatly aided by playing Minnesota and Michigan the past two weeks. So we'll have to wait and see how they do against a respectable team like Northwestern.

I'm still amazed that Penn State has yet to stop anyone in the redzone. They are the only team in the country with this distinction. You would think they would at least get a lucky fumble or a holding penalty that caused a missed field goal or the end of a half or something. Penn State's redzone offense numbers have significantly improved in the past few weeks and would be even better if Joe Paterno hadn't taken a knee against Michigan at the five yard line to run out the clock. Unfortunately, classiness doesn't show up in statistics.

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