Georgia’s in pretty good company here:
When I turn to Brian Fremeau’s 2019 points per drive chart, the story’s a little different, though.
Georgia’s finished the previous two seasons fourth in Brian’s measurements. That’s been driven by some very consistent stats across the board. Notable here is the showing in points per drive when Georgia starts outside its own 40-yard line, a very below par 108th. Note that most of the teams listed ahead of the Dawgs there are managing to score at a rate better than five ppd, while Georgia is at 1.80 ppd.
I can’t really chalk that up to red zone issues. Georgia has converted 15 of 20 drives starting inside the opponent’s 20-yard line into touchdowns, which is 27th nationally, and its overall red zone percentage is 95%, good for 14th. Those are both slightly ahead of last season’s rates.
So, overall, the team appears to be top ten in defensive efficiency and good at scoring on a deeper field, but has some issues with scoring efficiency on shorter ones. Why that’s the case is intriguing. I’m not sure there’s one specific reason, looking at the play-by-plays.
- Against Notre Dame, they started one drive on the Irish 24 after the Wilson interception. That drive stalled after a personal foul was called on Shaffer and they couldn’t cover a 2nd-and-17, settling for a field goal.
- Arkansas State: one drive started at the UGA 47 and stalled at the ASU 12, resulting in a field goal.
- Vanderbilt saw Georgia start a drive inside Vanderbilt territory and turn the ball over on downs when it didn’t convert a fourth-and-one at the Vandy 17. Another drive that started on the UGA 46 stalled when Kearis Jackson fumbled deep in Vanderbilt territory. A third drive started on the Vanderbilt 39 and ended with a Blankenship field goal, when Georgia couldn’t convert a third-and-one. Georgia had another drive that started inside Vandy territory ending in a field goal with a little over two minutes left in the game.
You can argue this comes from a small sample size, but here’s a strange fact, nevertheless: against FCS competition, Georgia has yet to score a touchdown on a drive of less than 60 yards this season. I don’t know whether that’s significant — after all, they’re undefeated and clearly there are plenty of stats that bear that out — but it is what it is.
And what it is to me is a little weird that a team would be more efficient scoring from eighty yards out than from less than sixty. (Before you ask, it’s not big plays: Georgia only has two plays of 50+ yards on the books through four games.) This will probably sort itself out as the season wears on, but, still, it’s curious.