Once again, MAC games only.
There is no question that football is harder to look at statistically because certain plays mean more than other plays, and 3rd down and red zone plays are the best example. Good third down play can bail a team out. Bad red zone play can sink you.
In 2010, BG was 12th in the MAC on 3rd down with a 31.2% conversion rate. In 2011, that number was ever so slightly worse (30.8%) and while BG did tick up to 11th, the conclusion is not avoidable...the Falcons were not effective on 3rd down. This will have to get better. Part of it will come when (and if) the running game improves and BG can be on schedule, and then again, it will also come when BG can more reliably convert 3rd and 1 or 2 situations.
BG was also very shaky in the red zone. (No surprise to anyone). In 2010, BG only generated 19 red zone trips in conference games, tied for 11th in the MAC. When they got there, they were pretty good, scoring 5.1 points per trip.
In 2011, BG got there 30 times, obviously a huge improvement. However, BG only scored 23 times in those trips, and had a 4.7 point/trip average. Clearly, in bulk, red zone scoring was up for BG, however, BG did not maximize scoring opportunities they earned, which was very costly in a number of games. BG was only one of three teams to have 5 "lost possessions" (turnover or downs) in the red zone.
You have to believe that as the rest of the team functions better, the red zone numbers will get better, and it did seem like the issue was largely resolved in the last couple games. Having said that, just improving the running is not going to do it on its own. BG has to execute in close quarters much better in order to help increase the overall scoring numbers.