Penn State Non-Conference Wrap-up

Finally, Penn State’s ‘preseason’ is over, and the Nittany Lions will play its first meaningful game this Saturday when #22 Illinois comes to town for an 8pm kickoff and a nationally televised ‘white out’.  So how did they do in their first 4 games?  Lets take a look at some #’s…

OFFENSE

Penn State has scored 27 TD’s in its first 4 games, averaging 52.8 points per game.  They have racked up 2154 offensive yards so far, 538.5 yards per game.  The stat that impresses me the most about the offense up to this point is its 3rd down conversion percentage, which is 58%.  This is critical in sustaining drives and keeping the other teams offense off of the field. 

DEFENSE

Penn State has spent most of its first four games without its two best defensive players, Sean Lee, who is out for the year, and Maurice Evans, who has been suspended.  They have also been missing a key piece of the defensive line rotation, Abe Karoma, to suspension.  Despite the missing stars, the Nittany Lion defense has 7 interceptions and 14 sacks in non-conference play.  They have held opponents to just 10 points per game, and have given up only 4 TD’s. 

These are some monster numbers (particularly the offensive #’s, which blow away every other team in the Big 10), but #’s can be a bit deceiving.  Penn State has yet to play a quality opponent, while some of the other teams in the Big 10 have faced top competition already (USC, Oregon, Missouri just to name a few).  PSU needs to stay focused and carry this momentum into the Big 10 schedule.  Win the turnover battle, keep converting 3rd downs, and capitalize in the red zone and Penn State could shock a lot of people by making a run at the national title this year.  Lets hoist up that old man and get it done this year fellas!  LET GO STATE!

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