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Just the Stats: Penn State at No. 12 Michigan State

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These numbers are not what you’d expect just looking at the rankings.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Penn St. Nittany Lions (7-4; 4-4 Big Ten East) vs Michigan State Spartans (9-2; 6-2 Big Ten East)

3:30 p.m. ET, November 27, 2021--ABC

Spartan Stadium (Capacity: 75,005 / East Lansing, MI)

Tableizer using codebeautify.org
Penn State Value (Nat'l Rank) Value (Nat'l Rank) Michigan State Advantage
Rushing Offense (ypg) 110.5 (116) 123.5 (26) Rushing Defense (ypg)
Passing Offense (ypg) 270.9 (25) 339.9 (130) Passing Defense (ypg) new PSU logo new PSU logo new PSU logo new PSU logo
Pass Efficiency 133.48 (81) 136.59 (77) Pass Efficiency Defense Push
Total Offense (ypg) 381.5 (84) 463.4 (120) Total Defense (ypg) new PSU logo
Scoring Offense (ppg) 26.2 (T - 80) 25.55 (63) Scoring Defense (ppg) Push
Rushing Defense (ypg) 131.7 (34) 185.8 (44) Rushing Offense (ypg) Push
Passing Defense (ypg) 202.9 (29) 243.3 (58) Passing Offense (ypg) new PSU logo
Pass Efficiency Defense 108.77 (7) 148.87 (40) Pass Efficiency new PSU logo
Total Defense (ypg) 334.6 (27) 429.1 (45) Total Offense (ypg) Push
Scoring Defense (ppg) 15.55 (4) 32.1 (T - 41) Scoring Offense (ppg) new PSU logo
Punt Return Defense (ypr) 2.38 (6) 19.27 (3) Punt Return Yds (ypr) Push
Punt Return Yds (ypr) 7.0 (T - 82) 8.2 (T - 70) Punt Return Defense (ypr) Push
Net Punting Yds (ypp) 44.93 (2) 43.26 (10) Net Punting Yds (ypp) Push
Kickoff Return Yds (ypr) 15.3 (125) 17.21 (12) Kickoff Return Defense (ypr)
Kickoff Return Defense (ypr) 11.0 (1) 20.88 (64) Kickoff Return Yds (ypr) new PSU logo new PSU logo
Turnover Margin (season) +.64 (T - 20) +.27 (T - 45) Turnover Margin (season) new PSU logo
Passes Had Intercepted (season) 8 (T - 45) 9 (T - 61) Passes Intercepted (season) Push
Passes Intercepted (season) 11 (T - 30) 8 (T - 45) Passes Had Intercepted (season) Push
Penalty Yds/Game 52.0 (60) 67.82 (116) Penalty Yds/Game new PSU logo new PSU logo
Sacks (spg) 2.0 (T - 75) 1.64 (T - 34) Sacks Allowed (spg)
Sacks Allowed (spg) 2.55 (T - 91) 3.09 (T - 16) Sacks (spg)
Tackles for Loss (tpg) 6.1 (T - 48) 5.55 (T - 68) Tackles for Loss Allowed (tpg) Push
Tackles for Loss Allowed (tpg) 6.61 (T - 112) 6.1 (T - 48) Tackles for Loss (tpg)
Redzone Offense (% season) 86.1% (51) 83.3% (T - 68) Redzone Defense (% season) Push
Redzone Defense (% season) 62.2% (3) 85.0% (T - 62) Redzone Offense (% season) new PSU logo new PSU logo
Redzone TD % (season) 52.78% 47.92% Redzone TD % Defense (season) Push
Redzone TD % Defense (season) 29.73% 65.0% Redzone TD % (season) new PSU logo
3rd Down Conv. % (season) 38.5% (75) 41.8% (95) 3rd Down Defense % (season) Push
3rd Down Defense % (season) 35.0% (31) 37.6% (81) 3rd Down Conv. % (season) new PSU logo new PSU logo
4th Down Conv. % (season) 42.9% (T - 94) 62.5% (T - 100) 4th Down Defense % (season) Push
4th Down Defense % (season) 52.9% (T - 73) 66.7% (T - 19) 4th Down Conv. %
1st Downs 228 (T - 72) 285 (129) 1st Downs Allowed new PSU logo new PSU logo
1st Downs Allowed 226 (69) 225 (82) 1st Downs Push
Time of Possession 28 (99) 26 (120) Time of Possession Push
Strength of Schedule 6 21 Strength of Schedule 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:

All of the above rankings are taken directly from the NCAA except for strength of schedule, which is taken from Team Rankings.com.

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:

This chart is this season in a nutshell - an all-encompassing “what if”. This game is eminently winnable by Penn State, but will depend on which PSU team shows up. The defense’ll be there - but will the offense?

The Nittany Lions get an edge in a lot of areas here, which MSU being better in special teams and rushing the line of scrimmage when they’re on defense. When the teams are in the redzone, though, is where Penn State will shine; on offense, PSU has been in the redzone 36 times (scoring 19 touchdowns and 12 field goals), while MSU has allowed 48 (!!!) redzone attempts by their opponents, resulting in 23 touchdowns and 17 field goals.

On the flip side, the Lion defense has been stellar in the redzone; there’ve been 37 attempts against them, but only 11 touchdowns and 12 field goals have been allowed (fewer touchdowns than field goals is really rare, and really good). The Spartan offense has been in the redzone 40 times themselves, with 26 touchdowns and 8 field goals scored.

And though both teams are great at limiting kickoff returns, PSU has only faced 1 (and last week, Rutgers had an opportunity but allowed the Stout kick to bounce into the endzone) - MSU has had 19 kickoffs returned. Penn State has returned only 10 kickoffs to Michigan State’s 24, too.

what say you all?