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Boston College Football: Struggling To Convert On Third Down

The program has struggled to move the chains on 3rd and 1.

Oct 6, 2012; West Point, NY, USA; Boston College Eagles running back Andre Williams (44) runs during the first half against the Army Black Knights at Michie Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-US PRESSWIRE

Through the first five games, the Boston College offense hasn't done a very good job on third down. In fact, as a unit they rank towards the bottom of Division I-A. Football Study Hall's Bill Connelly crunched the numbers on third down, taking a look at all 124 teams success rate on third-and-a given distance. Unsurprisingly, Boston College ranked 100th (of 124) in the country in third down conversions.

Here are the results for BC through five games:

3rd and 1 -- 28.6%
3rd and 2 -- 50.0%
3rd and 3 -- 83.3%
3rd and 4 -- 40.0%
3rd and 5 -- 20.0%
3rd and 6 -- 16.7%
3rd and 7 -- 50.0%
3rd and 8 -- 25.0%
3rd and 9 -- 25.0%
3rd and 10 -- 9.1%
3rd and >10 -- 44.4%

The Eagles are among the worst in the nation in converting on 3rd and 1. BC ranks 122 of 124 on 3rd and 1, ahead of only South Alabama (22.2%) and Eastern Michigan (0.0%). This speaks to the struggles of the offensive line and the running backs in establishing any sort of running attack.

The rest of the data is all over the place. BC has converted 83.3% of the time on 3rd and 3, but only 16.7% of the time on 3rd and 6. Almost inexplicably, BC has a 44.4% conversion rate on 3rd downs with greater than 10 yards to go. That's tied with Texas for the third best mark in the nation, behind only Louisiana-Lafayette and Cincinnati. The extremely high conversion rate on 3rd and >10 and the extremely low conversion rate on 3rd and 1 speaks to just how one-dimensional the Boston College offense has become this year.

So far this season, BC's opponents have fared well on third down. Clemson is converting 54% of all third downs, while Northwestern is converting 51.1%. Both rank in the top 16 in the nation in that category (though it's unclear how much of an affect the BC game had in their numbers). BC's week 7 opponent -- Florida State -- isn't too far behind, converting on 43.7 percent of all 3rd downs. That figure may be a bit skewed given the level of competition in weeks 1-3.