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Illinois Fighting Illini Preview By The Numbers

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Penn State

Value (Nat'l Rank)

Value (Nat'l Rank)

Illinois Fighting Illini

Advantage

Rushing Offense (ypg) 127.3 (80) 132.3 (59) Rushing Defense (ypg) Push
Passing Offense (ypg) 247.5 (40) 253.7 (100) Passing Defense (ypg) Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Pass Efficiency 133.8 (52) 144.7 (102) Pass Efficiency Defense Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Total Offense (ypg) 373.8 (56) 386.0 (90) Total Defense (ypg) Psulogo_medium
Scoring Offense (ppg) 25.0 (75) 28.0 (88) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push 
Rushing Defense (ypg) 75.5 (11) 192.0 (35) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 158.3 (19) 155.7 (110) Passing Offense (ypg) Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Pass Efficiency Defense 98.0 (23) 99.4 (110) Pass Efficiency Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Total Defense (ypg) 233.8 (9) 347.7 (82) Total Offense (ypg) Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Scoring Defense (ppg) 10.3 (6) 18.0 (108) Scoring Offense (ppg) Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Net Punting Yds 32.3 (99) 3.3 (107) Punt Return Yds Push
Punt Return Yds 4.6 (93) 36.1 (57) Net Punting Yds Chief_illiniwek_logo_medium 
Kickoff Return Yds 16.0 (115) 19.0 (28) Kickoff Return Defense Chief_illiniwek_logo_mediumChief_illiniwek_logo_medium
Kickoff Return Defense 25.3 (108) 19.5 (101) Kickoff Return Yds Push
Turnover Margin -1.00 (98) -0.67 (89) Turnover Margin Push
Penalty Yds/Game 27.8 (3) 75.3  (107) Penalty Yds/Game Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Sacks 3.00 (12) 3.33 (111) Sacks Allowed Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Sacks Allowed 1.75 (59) 1.33 (85) Sacks Psulogo_medium
Redzone Offense (%) 0.71 (100) 0.90 (93) Redzone Defense (%) Push
Redzone Defense (%) 0.63 (7) 0.86 (49) Redzone Offense (%) Psulogo_medium
Redzone TD % 0.53 0.70 Redzone TD % Defense Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_medium
Redzone TD % Defense 0.25 0.57 Redzone TD % Psulogo_medium
3rd Down Conv. % 54.1 (11) 31.8 (36) 3rd Down Defense % Psulogo_medium
3rd Down Defense % 29.3 (21) 39.0 (65) 3rd Down Conv. % Psulogo_mediumPsulogo_mediumPsulogo_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.

First impression: Um, wow. There's a lot of blue on that chart and just a speck of orange.

Best Matchup

Illinois has a pretty robust rushing attack fueled by Juice Williams and the zone read option. Penn State has an outstanding rushing defense, but this rushing attack will be unlike any they have seen yet.

Worst Matchup

Once again Penn State gets a chance to pad their incredibly horrible kickoff coverage stats as Illinois is equally terrible at returning kicks.

Advantages for Illinois

Illinois has a slight advantage in special teams. Like last week, it's not that they're great, it's just that Penn State is terrible. Really everything is pretty even on special teams except for when Illinois kicks. They do a pretty good job of covering while Penn State does a horrible job on returns. Let's just hope if everything goes well and Illinois scores as much as they did last week, that Penn State will only have one kick return in the game.

Advantages for Penn State

Wow, where to start. Illinois is teh suck at pretty much everything. I guess losing two of your three games by a combined score of 67-9 will do that to you. They have looked pathetic on offense and defense. Though Penn State's offense hasn't been lighting the world on fire, they should get opportunities against the Illini defense. It's almost incomprehensible how poorly the Illinois offense has performed. Juice and Benn were supposed to be the most dangerous combination in the league this year.

I consider the bottom portion of the chart to be an indication of how well disciplined a team is. Executing in the redzone and on third down, protecting the ball, and minimizing penalties are indications of well coached teams. Though Penn State has had issues finishing in the redzone and protecting the ball, they have done better than Illinois in just about every category.

Outlook For The Game

Illinois is a team in shambles right now. Not only are they not performing on offense or defense, but they just don't appear to be well coached. Expect them to shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly with penalties.

Of course, Arrelious Benn has established himself as a Nittany Lion killer. His two best games ever were arguably against Penn State in 2007 and 2008. What can I say? He likes him some Cover-3.

But Illinois has to run the ball in order to be effective. Ohio State shut down their running game and the rest of the offense crumbled. I would look for Penn State's front seven to have similar results and Penn State should get back on the winning track in this game.