Red zone success, opportunities key against LSU

The Clemson Sports Blog

LSU's Bennie Logan

(photo by Steve Franz, LSU Sports Information)

LSU's Bennie Logan (photo by Steve Franz, LSU Sports Information)

Scoring in the red zone is the expectation – getting six the majority of the time is the standard.

Clemson hasn’t had a problem with that, maintaining that success come New Year’s Eve could tip the scales in an even matchup.

LSU, Clemson polar opposite in style


Chad Morris’ offensive unit is sixth nationally in red zone touchdown rate (75 percent) among teams with 50 or more opportunities. They average 4.5 red zone trips a game (54 total), and score at least a field goal 94 percent of the time (second nationally).

LSU is in the top-10 nationally in red zone trips allowed (31), surrendering touchdowns at a 61 percent rate and any scoring at 77 percent (27th).

Oregon leads the nation in touchdown rate from 20 yards-in (82.9), while Louisiana Tech punched in scores 75.3 percent of the time on a staggering 85 red zone opportunities.

In the loss down in Tallahassee and at home to close the season versus USC, the touchdown rate was actually above the season average (80 percent), but the volume of red zone chances were two below (2.5), making a difference in finals decided by a two possession score.

Team TD Rate Overall Scoring (Ranking)
1) Oregon 82.9% 90% (11)
2) UL-Lafayette 76.9 94 (2)
T-3) Georgia 76 86 (29)
T-3) Ohio State 76 88 (17)
5) Louisiana Tech 75.3 85 (33)
6) Clemson 75 94 (2)

Getting those opportunities is what makes avoiding quick three-and-outs crucial.

LSU is ninth nationally in third down ‘D’ (31 percent), while Clemson is No. 4 in conversions (52.1 percent). Versus FSU and USC, that number dropped to a more middle-of-the-pack 41.4 percent (12-of-29), compared to an average of 54 percent in wins (86-of-159).

In their final four games, the Bayou Bengals allowed third downs at a 37.5 percent rate – the best coming against No. 2 Alabama at home (1-of-9) in a loss, while giving up 14-of-41 (41.4 percent) in wins over Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Arkansas to close the season.

LSU played one top-25 offense all year, on the road at Texas A&M, holding the Aggies to 6-of-16 on third down (37.5) and two touchdowns and a field goal in the red zone to take a 24-19 win out of the Lone Star State.

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