Monday, November 30, 2015

Statistically speaking: How Penn State players stack up nationally

Here's how some other Penn State players stack up nationally, statistically speaking:

Statistically speaking: How Penn State players stack up nationally

Matt McGloin will lead Penn State against Ohio State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday. (Jay LaPrete/AP file photo)
Matt McGloin will lead Penn State against Ohio State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday. (Jay LaPrete/AP file photo)

What's more surprising: The fact that Matt McGloin has more completions per game than anyone in the Big Ten or the fact that he has more completions per game than USC star Matt Barkley?

Barkley, who many projected in the preseason to be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL draft, has more total yards (2,750) and a better completion percentage (65.2) than McGloin.

But the fact that McGloin has comprobable stats -- 2,436 yards and a 62 percent completoin rate -- tells the story of Penn State's season. And, of course, a bit about the fall of the Trojans.

Here's how some other Penn State players stack up nationally, statistically speaking:

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Tackles per game: Mike Mauti has been the backbone of Penn State's defense all season long. The senior linebacker has 9.22 tackles per game, tied for 38th in the country. A few Big Ten linebackers are ahead of Mauti, including Wisconsin's Mike Taylor, Ohio State's Ryan Shazier and Northwestern's Damien Proby. The numbers are close, though. Who else is Mauti close to? Notre Dame star and national defensive player of the year candidate Manti Te'o, who is No. 25 in the country with 9.67 tackles per game. Another Mauti stat worth noting? He's No. 4 in the country wiht 125 interception return yards (on three interceptions).

Receptions per game: Sophomore Allen Robinson has cooled down a bit from his remarkably hot start. However the wide receiver has cemented himself as one of the country's rising stars. He's No. 29 in the nation with 6.33 receptions per game. No other Big Ten receiver has more.

Forced fumbles: Philly native Deion Barnes is the rapidlly improving centerpiece on Penn State's defensive line. And nine games into the season, it's clear: He's going to be the next star that defensive line coach Larry Johnson has helped produce. The redshirt has .33 forced fumbles for game, tied for No. 20 in the country. No other defensive player in the Big Ten has more.

Special teams: Undoubtedly the weak area for Penn State this season, and the statistics prove it: Punter Alex Butterworth is No. 89 in the country (last in the Big Ten) with 36.3 yards per punt. Kicker Sam Ficken is tied for No. 84 in the country by making .78 field goals per game. Bill O'Brien's affinity for going for it on fourth down has something to do with that, so perhaps this statistic is more telling: Of all Division 1-A kickers who have played in 75 percent of their team's games, Ficken is tied for last place with a .500 percentage. 

-Emily Kaplan

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About this blog
Joe Juliano has been a staff writer for The Inquirer for 30 years, covering covering Penn State football, Villanova basketball and other college sports, along with golf and the Penn Relays. This is his seventh season on The Inquirer’s Penn State beat. He previously covered the Nittany Lions for United Press International from 1976-84.

Joining Joe this season is Erin McCarthy, an intern for The Inquirer and a junior at Penn State majoring in print and digital journalism. This is Erin's first season on the Penn State football beat. She previously spent two summers as an Inquirer summer intern on the Pennsylvania and South Jersey desks. She is also an editor for the Daily Collegian, the university's student newspaper. A Delaware County native, Erin graduated from Episcopal Academy.

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Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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