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Just the Stats: Taxslayer Bowl

These two teams come into the game looking remarkably similar, with one having a better record--but having played fewer top 25 teams. What do the numbers say?

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Penn St. Nittany Lions (7-5; 4-4 Big Ten East) vs Georgia Bulldogs (9-3; 5-3 SEC East)

12 p.m. ET, January 2, 2016--ESPN
EverBank Field (Capacity: 67,164
/ Jacksonville, FL)

Penn State Value (Nat'l Rank) Value (Nat'l Rank) Georgia Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 135.3 (105) 151.9 (46) Rushing Defense (ypg)
Passing Offense (ypg) 208.9 (80) 146.1 (1) Passing Defense (ypg)
Pass Efficiency 125.13 (77) 102.96 (8) Pass Efficiency Defense
Total Offense (ypg) 344.3 (106) 298.0 (8) Total Defense (ypg)
Scoring Offense (ppg) 23.7 (101) 16.9 (10) Scoring Defense (ppg)
Rushing Defense (ypg) 149.8 (43) 194.3 (35) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 174.5 (9) 187.1 (102) Passing Offense (ypg) new PSU logonew PSU logonew PSU logo
Pass Efficiency Defense 113.57 (26) 131.31 (58) Pass Efficiency new PSU logo
Total Defense (ypg) 324.3 (15) 381.4 (77) Total Offense (ypg) new PSU logonew PSU logo
Scoring Defense (ppg) 21.7 (29) 26.5 (84) Scoring Offense (ppg) new PSU logonew PSU logo
Net Punting Yds 36.12 (93)
12.79 (18) Punt Return Yds
Punt Return Yds 7.13 (80) 35.77 (100) Net Punting Yds Push
Kickoff Return Yds 21.83 (46) 21.07 (60) Kickoff Return Defense Push
Kickoff Return Defense 24.72 (115) 17.77 (117) Kickoff Return Yds Push
Turnover Margin +.42 (T-31) +.25 (T-46) Turnover Margin Push
Penalty Yds/Game 40.83 (18) 45.58 (29) Penalty Yds/Game Push
Sacks 3.67/gm (T-1) 1.08/gm (T-13) Sacks Allowed Push
Sacks Allowed 3.25/gm (T-119)
1.75/gm (T-92)
Redzone Offense (%) 92.9% (8)
64.5% (2)
Redzone Defense (%) Push
Redzone Defense (%) 91.2% (117)
78.0% (101) Redzone Offense (%) Push
Redzone TD % 78.57% 48.39%
Redzone TD % Defense Push
Redzone TD % Defense 73.53% 41.46%
Redzone TD % new PSU logo
3rd Down Conv. % 28.1% (125)
29.6% (9)
3rd Down Defense %
3rd Down Defense % 37.3% (61)
31.3% (118) 3rd Down Conv. % new PSU logonew PSU logo
4th Down Conv. % 47.1% (81) 47.4% (T-50) 4th Down Defense %
4th Down Defense % 16.7% (1)
45.5% (T-85) 4th Down Conv. % new PSU logonew PSU logonew PSU logo
1st Downs 198 (121) 173 (3) 1st Downs Allowed
1st Downs Allowed 217 (T-22) 224 (100) 1st Downs new PSU logonew PSU logonew PSU logo
Time of Possession 29:20 (75)
29:11 (79) Time of Possession Push


Difference >25 in National Rank = new PSU logo

Difference >50 in National Rank = new PSU logonew PSU logo

Difference >75 in National Rank = new PSU logonew PSU logonew PSU logo

Difference >100 in National Rank = new PSU logonew PSU logonew PSU logonew PSU logo

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 judgment.

Quick thoughts:

Georgia has played three top 20 defenses headed into their bowl game (Bama, Florida, and Missouri), and the only win against them came against the Tigers--and they scored an average of 4.3 points against those defenses. Penn State has played five (Michigan, Ohio State, San Diego State, Northwestern, Temple) and also has one win--and averaged 18.8 points per loss in those games.

To do a similar comparison on the offense would be futile, as of both teams' combined schedules, only Indiana is in the top 25--averaging just over 500 yards per game of offense, despite the fact that in their game, Penn State's defense held the Hoosiers to just 7 points and only 234 yards of total offense. By comparison, the best total offense that UGA has faced this year is Alabama's (not bad, by any stretch, but also not as good as Ohio State's), which averages just over 420 yards per game.

So forgive me if, for once, I'm not convinced by my own statistics. Bill Connelly's S&P+ has Penn State as the better team headed into this matchup--and according to him (and he loves his numbers, not his eye tests), we have the 14th toughest schedule in the nation--with the Bulldogs playing the 87th. Forgive me if that doesn't give me the night terrors, despite the fact that we're supposed heavy underdogs with most of the pundits easily picking against the Nittany Lions.

What do you all think?