Numbers never lie, but that doesn’t mean statistics always tell the truth. Much has been made about the red zone defensive numbers both teams bring into the BCS Championship Game, but in the off chance you’ve had your face too buried in leftover pecan pie to care about analysis, here’s a quick refresher:
- Alabama’s defense has allowed 27 drives into the red zone (2.1/game) resulting 17 scores (9 rushing TD’s, 5 passing TD’s, 3 FG’s) and is rated No. 1 in this category.
- Notre Dame’s defense has allowed 33 drives into the red zone (2.8/game) resulting 21 scores (2 rushing TD’s, 6 passing TD’s, 13 FG’s) and is rated No. 3 in this category.
Statistics like these create the illusion that both offenses will struggle to score the ball. Your instincts are screaming “Not another field goal fest!” But no fear, I’m here to ease your mind. Let’s take a look at the red zone numbers that aren’t being discussed nearly as much as they should be: offensive red zone performance.
- Of Alabama’s 57 drives into the red zone (4.4/game) 51 have resulted in scores (30 rushing TDs, 11 passing TDs, 10 FGs). Alabama has scored a total of 500 points this season, 317 of which have come from plays within the red zone.
- Of Notre Dame’s 58 drives into the red zone (4.8/game) 46 have resulted in scores (18 rushing TDs, 9 passing TDs, 19 FGs). Notre Dame has scored a total of 321 points this season, 246 of which have come from plays within the red zone.
From these offensive numbers, we see that Notre Dame has only managed to score 75 points from beyond the red zone this season, while Alabama has managed to score 183. Notre Dame may have the No. 3 rated red zone defense, but is this really a relevant stat when Alabama has proven time and time again they don’t need to be in the red zone to score?