Post-season plans for Cyclones likely rests with third-down performance vs. Jayhawks & Mountaineers

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How important are third-down conversions? Succeed, you win. Fail, you lose.

There may not be a better predictor for wins and losses – at least for the 2012 Cyclone football team – than third-down proficiency.

When Iowa State has a better conversion percentage on third down than its opponent, the Cyclones are 4-0. When the reverse is true, ISU is 1-5. The exception was a win at TCU.

In its losses, Iowa State opponents have converted 52% of their third-down tries.

The defeats have come against Texas (ranked fourth nationally in third-down conversion percent), Oklahoma (sixth), Kansas State (10th), Texas Tech (14th) and Oklahoma State (23rd).

In its wins, Iowa State has converted on 45% of its third-down tries and held the opposition to 33% on their attempts.

Kansas is 105th nationally in making third downs but 34th in allowing conversions. West Virginia is ranked 40th in the NCAA in converting third downs but 102nd in stopping them.

Iowa State’s bowl fortunes could very well be buried in the third-down statistic.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

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