UGASports - In the Zone
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In the Zone

PAT’s WEEKLY STAT (you likely won’t see anywhere else—and there’s probably good reason why): Scoring 39 of 40 times it has reached the opposition’s 20-yard line this season, Georgia currently ranks No. 1 in the 130-member FBS in Red Zone Conversions at 97.50 percent. Likewise, the Bulldogs currently rank No. 3 in the FBS in [fewest] Opponent Red Zone Conversions at 62.50 percent, as their opposition has scored just 10 of 16 times it has reached Georgia’s 20-yard line.

Virginia Tech (No. 4 in Red Zone Conversions, No. 14 in Opponent Red Zone Conversions) is the only other team that ranks in the top 15 in both categories. Just as impressive, perhaps, is the fact that Georgia’s current red-zone rankings are up—and significantly—from last season, when the Bulldogs' red-zone rankings were No. 13 (90 percent in Red Zone Conversions) and No. 107 (89.19 percent in Opponent Red Zone Conversions).

In 2019, Georgia is vastly improved in red-zone conversions from last season, especially on defense.
In 2019, Georgia is vastly improved in red-zone conversions from last season, especially on defense.

But not all “scores”are created equal: For an offense, scoring a touchdown in the red zone is obviously preferable to scoring a field goal, and vice versa on defense. Perhaps a more telling red-zone statistic is one actually not maintained by the NCAA—Red Zone Efficiency, or the average points scored per red-zone possession (offense and defense).

In its trips to the red zone this season, Georgia has scored 225 points while yielding 54 points to its opponents—that’s a Red Zone Efficiency of 5.63 points on offense and 3.38 points on defense.

The following is the FBS’ top 10 in Red Zone Conversions and Opponent Red Zone Conversions. Just out of interest, I’ve included each team’s Red Zone Efficiency as well:

FBS' Top 10 in Red Zone Conversions (as of Nov. 20)
Red Zone Conversion rate Team Scored x times of y R-Z possessions Red Zone Efficiency (Avg. points per R-Z possession)

97.50

Georgia

39 of 40

5.63

96.88

Navy

31 of 32

6.25

96.88

Iowa

31 of 32

5.25

96.36

LSU

53 of 55

5.82

95.56

Virginia Tech

43 of 45

5.60

95.35

Kansas St.

41 of 43

5.72

93.75

TCU

45 of 48

4.96

93.75

Purdue

30 of 32

5.69

93.33

Appalachian St.

42 of 45

6.00

93.18

Iowa St.

41 of 44

5.55

Georgia ranks No. 1 in the percentage of red-zone trips where it scored. Notably, the Bulldogs’ 5.63 points per red-zone possession isn’t even ranked in the top half of the top 10 in Red Zone Conversions. On the contrary, while Georgia ranks No. 3 in Opponent Red Zone Conversions, it also ranks toward the top in Red Zone Efficiency–Defense of the 10 teams being measured:

FBS' Top 10 in Opponent Red Zone Conversions (as of Nov. 20)
Red Zone Conversion rate Team Scored x times of y R-Z possessions Red Zone Efficiency (Avg. points per R-Z possession)

61.11

Ohio St.

11 of 18

3.22

61.54

Temple

24 of 39

3.79

62.50

Georgia

10 of 16

3.38

62.50

Louisiana Tech

25 of 40

3.88

64.29

Florida

18 of 28

3.36

64.71

South Florida

22 of 34

3.79

65.00

Wisconsin

13 of 20

4.05

66.67

Utah

12 of 18

3.56

68.75

Buffalo

22 of 32

4.03

69.44

Wyoming

25 of 36

3.50

Beginning in 2002, or, when red-zone points scored were first recorded by UGA, up to 2019 (through the Auburn game), the following is a season-by-season look at the Bulldogs’ Red Zone Efficiency on offense (red line) and defense (black line). On offense, Georgia has averaged 5.02 points per red-zone possession for the 18-season period with a high of 5.75 in 2017 and a low of 4.07 in 2015. On defense, the Bulldogs have yielded an average of 4.55 points per opponent’s red-zone possession since 2002, with a high (lowest average) of 2.90 in 2003 and a low (highest average) of 5.67 in 2016.

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

Notably, for four of the 17 measured seasons entering 2019, the Bulldogs actually averaged fewer points per red-zone possession than they yielded: 2005 (scored 4.53, allowed 4.84 = minus-0.31 margin), 2010 (minus-0.15 margin), 2011 (minus-0.35 margin), and 2016 (minus-0.92 margin).

At the current rate this season, Georgia’s Red Zone Efficiency–Offense of 5.63 would be the Bulldogs’ second-best mark behind 5.75 from two years ago, while their 3.38 average in Red Zone Efficiency–Defense would also be the team’s second-best mark, only trailing 2.90 from 2003.

Also this season, Georgia’s Red Zone Efficiency margin of plus-2.25 points would easily surpass the team’s current high of plus-1.65 in 2003, demonstrating, whether when reaching the opposition’s 20-yard line or allowing foes to reach theirs, when it comes to the red zone in 2019, the Bulldogs have been in the zone.

Entering this season, Georgia’s top mark for Red Zone Efficiency-Defense resulted in 2003 when the Bulldogs allowed its opponents to average just 2.90 points per red-zone possession. (Getty Images)
Entering this season, Georgia’s top mark for Red Zone Efficiency-Defense resulted in 2003 when the Bulldogs allowed its opponents to average just 2.90 points per red-zone possession. (Getty Images)