The Georgia Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 9-3 record and won their last four games to close out the year.
However, because of losses to Alabama, Florida and Tennessee, the season is considered a disappointment, which has led to UGA letting head coach Mark Richt go and hiring Kirby Smart.
While the Bulldogs struggled in most areas—specifically on offense—they were able to do some good things as well. With that said, there were some stats that caused the Bulldogs to go from favorites to win the SEC East to hoping they can get a New Year’s Day bowl game.
So what went right for Bulldogs? What went wrong? Here are the five most telling stats for the Bulldogs in 2015.
26.5 Points Per Game
That number is the average of points scored by the Bulldogs this season. It’s is a dramatic drop from where they were last season (41.3 points per game, the most in the SEC).
It was real tough for the Bulldogs to score points after the 48-6 win over Southern, only managing to score over 30 points once (38-31 loss to Tennessee). Despite winning the last four games of the season, the Bulldogs only averaged 20.75 points during that span.
There are plenty of reasons to explain why the Bulldogs could not score points. But if there is one stat that explains the offensive woes, it would have to be this.
31.25 Percent on 3rd Down
The Bulldogs had serious issues moving the chains this season. They only converted 45 of 144 third-down attempts, which ranks 13th in the SEC.
The Bulldogs slightly improved on third-down conversions in the second half of the season because they only converted on 29 percent of them in the first six games, according to Jordan D. Hill of 247Sports.
“We talked about it some today, just breaking down third down and scouting ourselves,” quarterback Greyson Lambert said to Hill back in October. “Coach [Brian Schottenheimer] said like 60 percent of the time, we were in 3rd-and-7-plus. We definitely want to get ahead of the sticks and make those third downs a little bit easier for us.”
Not having Nick Chubb and not being able to throw the ball downfield consistently played a factor into why the Bulldogs could not sustain drives. With a new coaching staff in place next season, that will surely be one of the areas it will look to improve in quickly.
41.46 Percent in the Red Zone
One of the other things that hurt the Bulldogs this year was the fact that they could not punch it in when they were in the red zone. The Bulldogs only scored touchdowns 41.46 percent of the time in the red zone, which ranks 13th in the SEC.
The Bulldogs were in the red zone 41 times this season, which ranks 11th in the conference. They only scored 17 touchdowns, but they did tie for first in the SEC for the most field goals in the red zone with 15.
This stat goes hand in hand with third-down conversions. Because the Bulldogs could not convert third downs consistently, they were not in the red zone as much as they were in the last two seasons.
16.9 Points Allowed Per Game
As much as the offense struggled, the defense played pretty good football in the regular season.
The Bulldogs only allowed 16.9 points per game, the fourth-best total in the SEC. In fact, they are one of four teams in the conference to not allow more than 20 points per game.
After the 27-3 loss to Florida, the Bulldogs defense tightened things up. It did not allow more than 17 points in the final four games of the season and only allowed three offensive touchdowns during that span.
So why was the Bulldogs defense so good in the final part of the season?
146.1 Passing Yards Allowed Per Game
The Bulldogs improved on defense because the pass defense got stronger as the season progressed. Their average of 146.1 passing yards allowed per game was not only the best in the SEC, but it was good enough to put them at No. 1 in the FBS.
The Bulldogs also allowed quarterbacks to complete 51 percent of their passes (tied for 12th in the FBS) and nine touchdown passes (tied for fifth).
Dominick Sanders was a big reason why the pass defense was outstanding, as he picked off five passes. That mark was good enough to put him at No. 1 in the SEC and tied for 13th in the FBS.
Quincy Mauger, Aaron Davis and Malkom Parrish also played consistent football in the secondary all season long.