On January 1st, LSU will take the field against the Iowa Hawkeyes, playing them for the first time since the 2004 Capital One Bowl. We know a lot about the Tigers, but how do they stack up against Iowa in a quick look at their statistics? Follow past the jump for an infographic and some of my own thoughts, just looking at the numbers.
Infographic here, see below for some quick hits of my own.
It becomes readily apparent that what we already know–LSU knows offense, Iowa can play defense–is born out in the numbers. By the offensive graph, LSU's offense generally outperformed the Iowa offense against their opponents. The Tigers have some big spikes, while the dips aren't awful. Iowa, on the other hand, showed some ability to generate yardage, but in their most difficult games (vs. MSU & OSU) they were held under 400 yards on both occasions. LSU's worst output came against Florida, which was a win in which LSU still dominated despite the yardage shortage, and against Florida, a game in which LSU was thoroughly outclassed.
Defensively, Iowa put up generally better numbers across the board against their opponents in contrast to LSU's performances against their SEC foes. I think it bears noting, though, the readily apparent disparity in quality of opponents. Again, in Iowa's toughest games, They allowed nearly 500 yards to both MSU and OSU. Not to say LSU fared better–in LSU's losses the defense was gashed and gashed deeply. But, it bears noting that Iowa's great defensive numbers were mostly built upon the back of a weak, decrepit B1G.
Random note: LSU played 10 of their 12 games on real grass, while Iowa played 10 of 12 on artificial turf. The differences between a toasty warm southern clime & the frozen tundra of the midwest?
Iowa's offense is not LSU's, but the disparity is stark when the numbers are compared against ranked foes. The Tiger attack still managed nearly 32 points per game against their ranked opponents, while Iowa's offensive numbers went into full anemia, scoring 18.5 points in those contests.
Both of these defenses were poor against ranked opponents, allowing nearly 30 points per game. Worth noting, however, LSU's defense was slightly better in this metric than Iowa's.
LSU is fantastic in the red zone. When the Tigers make it inside the 20, they generally turn it into a TD, regardless of the quality of opponent. Somehow, Iowa has managed to be noticeably better in the red zone in their losses than in their wins.
Mettenberger being out makes this one a tough read. If we just go by the numbers, it looks like LSU holds a distinct advantage. A much stronger offense with a defense that's comparatively better than Iowa's offense. It's strength on strength, but LSU's weakness doesn't look quite as weak as Iowa's. With Mettenberger injured, it's tough to say how much you can glean from these numbers. Still, the Tigers seem to hold a decided advantage when these two teams are compared and much will rest on how Anthony Jennings handles his first start in the spotlight.