“KEEPING THE DRIVE ALIVE”
A slow time on the board is a good time to post some summary information on how successful the Big Ten was as a conference in converting third and fourth downs and to discuss the relative success of individual teams as well.
Overall, the Big Ten lined up for third down 2,139 times and converted 856 of those downs for a conference success rate of 40.02%. The best team was actually Michigan, converting 51.3% of its third downs, followed by Northwestern and Penn State at 45.2% and 43.08% respectively. The worst teams in the conference include, in no particular order, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, all of them sitting in the 34% to 36% range.
The conference went for it on 4thdown 205 times this season and managed to get a fresh set of down on 111 of these occasions, making for an overall success rate of 54.15% for the Big Ten. Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin were the most successful teams in this regard, converting well over half of their 4thdown attempts. Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois were the least successful teams on 4thdown, with Iowa attempting to convert twenty times and only making it on seven attempts.
The average Big Ten team attempted 178 conversions on third down and was successful 71 times. On fourth down, the average team went for it 17 times and converted 9 of them. The median values were similar actually, indicating 178 attempts to 75 successes on third down, and 15 attempts to 7 successes on fourth down.
How good was the Big Ten then in this regard? It might be worth mentioning that, if the conference were in fact a team, it would have bested Southern Methodist for a solid 62ndplace in the rankings among Division I programs (point of trivia – the worst individual team at converting third down was Boston College at 28%). On fourth down, the “conference as a team” fared somewhat better, as in this scenario, we would be in 53rdplace, slightly better than Air Force (by about 0.1%).
Below are links to the tables for third and fourth down conversions for the season as well as relative success among individual conference members.
When it comes to looking at conference statistics sometimes...