Penn State Football: Bye Week By The Numbers
Seven wins, three losses. One bowl game on the horizon, two surprising defeats in the rearview mirror. Penn State football’s late bye week provides us a lot of time to reflect on the season so far, and here are some interesting statistics through the team’s first 10 games.
6-0: It’s been talked about all year, but Penn State’s home record is outstanding. Sure, the level of opposition hasn’t been outstanding (or good), but the Nittany Lions have more than tripled-up their opponents on the scoreboard, 180-59. The seventh and final home game of the year is next Saturday, time and network to be announced on Sunday, against Michigan in the White Out. Rankings and most statistics point towards Michigan being the heavy favorite, but Penn State would surely hate to lose its perfect record at home.
39/138 (28 percent): That is a bad third-down conversion rate. A statistic that somehow makes it seem worse: That ranks 126th out of 127 Division I teams. It’s become a pseudo meme in the Penn State community, joking around that the offense is either going to run an unsuccessful screen or a draw play up the middle on third down, but it doesn’t seem as funny anymore now that I’ve had to scroll through three pages to find Penn State on these rankings.
3-3: Penn State’s record in its last two games of the regular season over the last three seasons. In 2012 the team won both games, split in 2013, and lost out in 2014 before beating Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl. We’ll see if James Franklin evens out the last two games and meets the average, or he repeats last year’s performance against two stout teams from the Great Lake State.
13/15 and 807.6: The portion of Penn State’s touchdown passes that a quarterback has thrown this year, and the combined passer rating of Nick Scott and Geno Lewis. We all remember where we were when Nick Scott took the pitch, turned around, and fired a touchdown pass to Christian Hackenberg. We also are still confused by last week’s double-reverse-fumble-screw-it-we’re-going-deep play from high-school-quarterback-turned-college-wide-receiver-turned-college-quarterback Geno Lewis, who found a wide-open DaeSean Hamilton on a miracle play. Scott, who has another completion as well, combines with Lewis for a 100 percent completion rating, two touchdowns, and 78 yards, which in turn combine for ridiculous passing ratings.
51-39 (.567) and 15-3 (.833): The combined record and winning percentages of Penn State’s first 10 and last two opponents. The non-conference teams are a combined 21-15, and the Big Ten teams are 30-24, so the much maligned OOC slate isn’t actually as bad on paper as it seems. That being said, the reason the Big Ten’s schedule is so close to .500 is because most of those teams have already lost to the elite teams on the remainder of Penn State’s schedule.
Other miscellaneous fun statistics:
- 10 forced fumbles ranks fourth in the nation.
- Shockingly, three Big Ten teams are worse than Penn State’s 39.4 yards per punt.
- Penn State’s 283 passing attempts are the fourth most of any team with three interceptions thrown or fewer.
- It has also allowed the second fewest passing yards per game, and Michigan has allowed the third fewest.
- 3.3 sacks allowed per game is sixth-worst in the nation, and eerily reminiscent of last year.
- Penn State allows 17.7 points per game (14th in college football) and is 97th with 25.2 points for.
- 42 sacks in 10 games, an average of 4.2 per, leads the nation. 93 tackles for loss ranks second behind Boston College. Thanks, Carl Nassib.
- Speaking of Nassib, he leads the nation with 16 sacks, yards lost on sacks, and six forced fumbles. Two players are tied for second in the nation with 11 sacks.
- Finally, new fan-favorite Saquon Barkley ranks 39th in rushing yards per attempt and 34th in total rushing yards (he also missed two games and had one attempt against Temple). And most impressively and least surprisingly, his 836 rushing yards is the best by all true freshmen by almost 100 yards.
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After losing my father to cancer, I thought there was nothing THON could offer me that I didn’t already know. After four years, I found comfort in the familiar.
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