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Getting to know Penn State: Nittany Lions rank high in many categories

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This is gonna be a huge game

NCAA Football: Penn State at Northwestern Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Penn State Nittany Lions received a spanking from the Michigan Wolverines in 2016, losing in Ann Arbor 49-10. A year removed, Penn State is No. 2 in the country, while the Wolverines have fallen to No. 19.

Penn State needed a last second touchdown to beat Iowa a few weeks back, besides that, it has been smooth sailing for this undefeated squad.

Running back Saquon Barkley is firmly entrenched in any talk when the word Heisman is mentioned. Barkley has done it all, even returning a kickoff for a touchdown and throwing a touchdown pass. Barkley has rushed for 649 and 6 touchdowns, with 29 receptions for 395 yards and two touchdowns. He’s their leading rusher and receiver.

The quarterback Trace McSorely has made things difficult for opposing defenses, completing 67% of his passes for 1,597 yards, throwing 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in the process. He also has mobility that can extend plays, which is evident when looking at his 178 yards rushing with 4 touchdowns. McSorely is PSU’s second leading rusher, behind Barkley.

On the defensive side, Penn State is ranked 9th nationally in total defense and has a penchant for flying to the football, creating turnovers, and getting into the backfield sacking the quarterback. On the flip side, Penn State has not played a defense anywhere near as potent as the one Michigan has.

Notable Rankings

  • Pass defense- 10th
  • Run defense- 22nd
  • Sacks- 24th (17)
  • Interceptions- 13th (9)
  • Defensive efficiency- 7th
  • Pass offense- 31st
  • Rush offense- 75th
  • 3rd down conversions- 93rd (37.8%)
  • Offensive efficiency- 16th