Big 12 Red Zone Defense

If you've listened to a Texas press conference in the past two years, there's a pretty good chance that you've heard defensive coordinator Manny Diaz talk about the importance of limiting teams to field goals on red zone possessions.

That's why, Diaz has said, it's important to look at red zone touchdown percentage, as opposed to just red zone scoring percentage. As he said at one point last year: "you can win a championship holding people to field goals in the red zone."

Why does red zone touchdown percentage matter more than red zone percentage? Look at Texas and Baylor. Texas allowed scores on a whopping 53-of-58 red zone possessions, for a Big 12 worst 91.4 red zone scoring percentage. Baylor also defended 58 red zone possessions, but only allowed 48 scores, for a percentage of 82.8. That put the Bears closer to the mid-table mark, with Baylor finishing sixth in red zone defense.

There's just one problem: Baylor actually allowed more points in the red zone than Texas did. The Bears allowed 40 touchdowns to Texas's 34, and when field goals are added in, the Bears allowed 264 red zone points to Texas's 261.*


* That was actually how the Texas-Baylor game in 2012 played out as well. Both teams were 100 percent in red zone scoring for the game, with Baylor scoring on all seven of its attempts and Texas scoring on each of its six red zone attempts. But Texas scored touchdowns on all six tries, while the Bears had two trips result in field goals. The end result, counting extra points on the touchdowns (except for the missed two-point conversion by Baylor), is that Texas scored 42 points on red zone trips. The Bears scored 40 points, despite having the same 100-percent scoring rate and going on one more trip. Texas won the game by six. Of course, had the Bears had a 100-percent touchdown scoring rate, they would have had 49 red zone points to Texas's 42, a swing of nine points.


So which teams in the Big 12 were the best defensively at keeping teams out of the end zone once they reached the 20? Last year's results are below.


Red Zone Touchdowns Allowed Percentage

1) TCU — 18 red zone touchdowns allowed, 38 defensive red zone attempts, 47.4 percent

2) Kansas State 23-47, 48.9 percent

3) Oklahoma State 30-53, 56.6 percent

4) Iowa State 29-51, 56.9 percent

5) Texas — 34-58, 58.6 percent

6) Kansas — 40-65, 61.5 percent

7) Texas Tech — 34-54, 63.0 percent

8) West Virginia — 41-64, 64.1 percent

9) Oklahoma — 27-42, 64.3 percent

10) Baylor — 40-58, 69.0 percent


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