#12 Penn St. Nittany Lions (5-3; 3-3 Big Ten East) vs Maryland Terrapins (5-3; 3-3 Big Ten East)
3:30 p.m. ET, November 6, 2021--FS1
Maryland Stadium (Capacity: 51,802 / College Park, MD)
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 didn’t remember how not great these stats were headed into last year’s matchup - a prescient sign in retrospect. This year is a little different, but mostly on the special teams-front, where Penn State’s got the decided edge.
A few of the things that stood out for me? PSU’s offense has been in the redzone 27 times (scoring touchdowns 15 of those times), versus Maryland’s 40 trips inside the 25 (when they’ve scored 22 TDs). PSU’s opponents, however, have scored only 8 touchdowns and 12 field goals in 29 redzone trips on the year (including a valiant showing in Columbus last week), while Maryland’s defense has allowed 20 touchdowns and 10 field goals in 38 redzone trips.
On the punting side, Maryland has punted 35 times to PSU’s 41 - but have also allowed 24 kickoff returns out of 36 possible. As most of you likely know if you follow this humble blogger’s predilictions, Penn State has not allowed a single kickoff return this season with 39 touchbacks.
But something that stands out to me on how fickle these numbers can be? Fourth down conversions. Both Penn State and Maryland’s defenses have faced 12 fourth downs, but PSU only stopped five of them to UM’s six stops - which results in almost a 50-team-ranking slide. This is a game of inches, indeed.
What say you all?