Friday, February 5, 2016

Numbers game: Dissecting Penn State's 34-7 win against Navy

It was only one game, but for the Nittany Lions, it was a good one. Here's a look at some statistics that helped lead to the outcome:

Numbers game: Dissecting Penn State's 34-7 win against Navy

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Bill O'Brien's first win as head coach ended with a Gatorade bath.

It was all smiles on the Nittany Lion sideline as Penn State notched its first win of the season, a 34-7 win against Navy (0-2). Well, mostly all smiles

"I wish they didn't do that," O'Brien said in his postgame press conference. "I think it's more about the players. It's really about the players and this staff. I am soaking wet right now and it was one game."

It was only one game, but for the Nittany Lions, it was a good one. Here's a look at some statistics that helped lead to the outcome:

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0  - the number of points Penn State surrendered in the first quarter. The Nittany Lions took a 14-0 lead after 15 minutes, and has out-scored opponents 28-0 in the first quarter on the season.

2-  consecutive games that Penn State did not commit a turnover.

2 - consecutive games that Matt McGloin did not throw an interception.

3 - how many turnovers (three fumbles, one interception) that Penn State's defense forced. The Nittany Lions now lead the Big Ten with eight forced turnovers this season.

3- number of sacks Philly native Deion Barnes has tallied in the past two games. The redshirt sophomore has been sensational on defense this season, including five tackles on Saturday.

7 - yards Paul Jones picked up on a reception for a first-down conversion. Jones, who completed spring practice as Penn State's No. 2 quarterback, played as a tight end on Satuday. It was the first time he has ever appeared in a college game.

12 - tackles by linebacker Mike Mauti. The senior has been an absolute monster this season, and forced his first sack of the season when he forced Navy into an intentional grounding call for a 21-yard penalty in the second half. Mauti now has a team-high 33 tackles on the season, good for third place in the Big Ten.

14 - number of points Penn State scored off Navy's four turnovers. That's a big improvement from a week ago, when the Lions scored only three points off of Virginia's four turnovers.

24- number of catches Allen Robinson needs to match the Penn State record for sophomores, set by Bobby Engram and Deon Butler. Robinson is halfway there with 24 catches -- which is tops in the Big Ten and No. 10 in the country.

60 - rushing attempts for Navy. It was the most by a Penn State opponent since Nebraska had 72 in 2003. Penn State allowed 245 rushing yards on Saturday. Definitely room for some improvement there.

100 - McGloin's completion percentage on his first seven attempts. The quarterback started the game 7-of-7 for 151 yards and two touchdowns. McGloin displayed confidence and chemistry with his receivers throughout the entire game -- though not sure why backup Steven Bench didn't see some snaps in the fourth quarter.

5,411 - the number of days since Penn State's last win -- technically speaking, of course. Under the NCAA sanctions, all Nittany Lion victories from 1998 to 2011 were vacated, a total of 112 wins. That means Saturday's victory was the first to be recognized by the NCAA since 1997. Quite a long losing streak. 

-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.

Reach Joe at jjuliano@phillynews.com.

Joe Juliano Inquirer Staff Writer
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