For all the talk about how important the defense was for the 2016 Red Wolves football team, what has been said before isn’t enough.
Let’s allow some numbers emphasize how critical the defensive performance was in 2016
Opponents reached the red zone 41 times in 2016 but reached the end zone only 19 times (46% of the time), 14 times they settled for a made field goal and 8 times came away with zero points. In 2015 opponents made it into the red zone 42 times but scored a touchdown 29 times (69%), a field goal 7 times and no points 6 times.
That was the fourth best improvement in FBS in red zone touchdown defense in 2016 over 2015.
Assuming 7 points per touchdown scored that is difference between 175 red zone points given up in 2016 and 224 points in 2015, a drop of almost four points per game given up.
The Red Wolves gave up 393 points in 2015 compared to 279 in 2016. AState gave up nearly nine fewer points per game in 2016.
AState’s clamp down on scoring in 2016 came at a critical time. The Red Wolves only scored 355 in 2016 compared to 520 in 2015. AState averaged almost 13 points per game less in 2016.
The defense was the foundation of AState keeping a school record tying six straight winning season streak alive.