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The National: Five Penn State Stats Compared To The Rest Of The Nation

by on September 03, 2018 2:20 PM

If there are any redeeming qualities about 2018 it might just be the access to analytics and stats for just about any sport on the planet. It gives you a window into the game inside of the game and small trends that make the difference between good teams and bad.

Of course as many will be quick to point out, stats don't play the game for you. A stat can't kick a field goal or block a blitzing linebacker. But if we try not to take this too terribly seriously, there are still useful tidbits to keep an eye on as the season goes along.

So enter a weekly feature, five interesting stats compared to the rest of the nation. A look at how Penn State compares to everyone else both with the good and the bad.

The first few weeks of the season will be only somewhat helpful, but as the data increases, so too will the insight. 



Penn State's 434 yards of offense is 64th best in the nation.

This is probably the best example of stats that don't mean much right now, but if you were wondering how a very bipolar afternoon worked out for Penn State's offense, all things considered it wasn't that bad nationally. Then again, Ohio State cranked out 721 yards of offense, good enough for fourth best in the nation.

We'll check back on total offense later in the year.

10 yards of penalties is tied best in the nation with Georgia Southern.

Of all the bad things Penn State did this past weekend, not taking penalties was certainly one of the positives. Considering the stakes, the number of points scored, big plays and late game drama, making through everything having just been called for two penalties is kind of remarkable. In general Penn State has been a pretty disciplined team under James Franklin, then again you don't need to commit penalties when you're winning a lot of your games by double-digits. Last season the Nittany Lions finished 8th in fewest penalty yards given up per game.

Allowing two tackles for a loss is second best in the nation.

Another one of those "it's way too early" stats, but Penn State gave up just two tackles for a loss and that includes a sack. Considering Penn State gave up almost 100 of them last season, any game, against anyone, that ends with that few tackles for a loss is a good day for the offensive line. Penn State's offense has had better looking days, but at least the offense was going in the right direction down the field.

38 points is 103 in scoring defense, Penn State finished last season seventh in that category. 

It comes as no real shock that giving up 38 points won't start you off very high on the scoring defense list. It figures that Penn State will not be giving up 38 points a game, although if that does happen chances are you won't need fancy stats to tell you how the season is going. Win or lose the Pitt game figures to be lower scoring, so this number ought to drop as well.

230 yards passing is 58th best in the nation.

There's nothing wrong with the game Trace McSorley had, he has played better, he has played worse. In the end he made plays down the stretch that kept Penn State in the game, which is pretty much his job. But when it comes to his Heisman hopes, it seems unlikely that he can have middle-of-the-pack passing numbers and win it on the merits of dragging Penn State across the finish line each week. Of course if he does that for 9-10 games then maybe he can, but on stats alone, McSorley's numbers aren't going to pop out at anyone who didn't watch the game. He'll have bigger platforms to change that though, like, this weekend.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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