Penn St. Nittany Lions (6-3; 3-3 Big Ten East) vs Michigan Wolverines (8-1; 5-1 Big Ten East)
12 p.m. ET, November 13, 2021--ABC
Beaver Stadium (Capacity: 106,579 / University Park, PA)
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.
I mean...those are a lot of block Ms, more than we saw against Ohio State. Michigan is much better this year than they were last, when Penn State broke its streak against them - but how good is PSU? We simply don’t know.
Some observations from the numbers: the big one for me is that Jordan Stout and the special teams squad faced their first kickoff return this past week, but since it got stopped after just 11 yards, the Nittany Lions remain first in the nation (just ahead of Michigan, who’s had 8 kickoffs returned on the season).
The PSU defense remains elite in the redzone, but something glaring to me - Penn State has allowed their opponents into the redzone 34 times while their own offense has only been in the redzone 28 times! While the RZ defense is, as said already, elite with fewer touchdowns allowed (10) than field goals (12), the Penn State offense is actually not as bad as it sometimes seems - in the top fifth of the nation, scoring in almost 9 out of 10 RZ trips, with over 50% of those trips resulting in six points.
On the flip side, Michigan’s defense has only allowed opponents into the redzone 16 times on the season (less than two times per game!), but when they do - they’ve let up 13 scores (9 TDs and 3 field goals). That complements their offense well; the Michigan O has been in the redzone a whopping 45 times (5 times per game), with 25 touchdowns and 17 field goals to show for it. Yes, they’ve scored almost as many touchdowns from the redzone as PSU has had redzone trips - but without doing any research beyond gathering these stats, that might have to do with their offense not being predicated on explosive plays, but rather methodical drives down the field.
What say you all?