OU’s red-zone offense is not productive. That’s been well-documented. But less known is this: OU’s red-zone defense has been superb.
The Sooners rank No. 1 in the NCAA’s red-zone defense statistics, and though I don’t favor the NCAA’s formula, the Sooners rank No. 2 using my preferred method.
OU has given up four touchdowns and three field goals in opponents’ seven trips inside the 20-yard line. That’s a national-best .583 percentage for teams scoring once they reach the red zone on the Sooners. Next are Rutgers and Standford, at .588.
I don’t necessarily like that formula, though, because it counts touchdowns and field goals the same. Which they most certainly are not.
In red-zone touchdown-prevention defense, the Sooners rank second nationally: .333, four TDs allowed in 12 trips. Rugers leads, having allowed five TDs in 17 red-zone trips.
The best way to gauge red-zone efficiency is to count touchdowns as a full score and field goals as a half. Using that method, OU still ranks second, with a .458 percentage. Rutgers leads at .441.
Here are the top 10 in red-zone defensive efficiency: 1. Rutgers .441; 2. Oklahoma .458; 3. Stanford .529; 4. BYU .542; 5. North Carolina .543; 6. Kansas State .571; 7. Wisconsin .577; 8. Michigan .579; 9. Arkansas .583; 10. Western Michigan .583.
What that means is this. So far this season, when an OU opponent reaches the red zone, it’s still less than 50-50 that the foe even gets a field goal.
Of course, the best way to play good defense is limit the red-zone opportunities of opponents. And the Sooners do that.
Michigan State has allowed just seven red-zone trips (with four touchdowns and a field goal). Alabama has allowed nine (with five TDs and a field goal). Temple has allowed 11 (seven touchdowns). OU has allowed 12 (four T