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The Look Ahead: Iowa (7–5, 4–5) vs. Boston College (7–5, 4–4) in The Pinstripe Bowl

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By John Patchett (   12/24/17

Iowa plays Boston College in the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl on December 27th at Yankee Stadium in New York City with kickoff scheduled for 4:15 PM (CST). The Hawkeyes finished the regular season 7-5 overall and 4-5 in the Big Ten Conference. The Eagles also finished 7-5 overall and were 4-4 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Iowa has wins over Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, Nebraska, Wyoming, Iowa State, and North Texas – its losses were to Penn State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Purdue.

Boston College wins came against Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, Louisville, Virginia, Florida State, Connecticut, and Syracuse. The Eagles lost games to Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina State.

This will be the first ever game played between these two teams. The Hawkeyes are 8-11 all time vs. current members of the ACC but have won four straight including over then 9th-ranked Georgia Tech in the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl. Iowa is bowl eligible for the 16th time in the last 17 seasons and has posted a 6-8 record in bowl games under Head Coach Kirk Ferentz. Only Ohio State and Wisconsin have a better record since 2001 among Big Ten teams playing in bowls. However, the 2010 Insight Bowl was the Hawkeyes last win in a bowl game – since then Iowa has lost five straight bowls and four of those in rather embarrassing fashion.

This is the 26th bowl appearance for Boston College and its 16th in the last 19 years. It is the second time the Eagles play in the Pinstripe Bowl, having lost 31-30 in overtime to Penn State in 2014. BC is 14-11 all-time in bowl games with its most recent victory coming last year in the Quick Lane Bowl 36-30 over Maryland – which was its first bowl victory since 2007.

The Hawkeyes Head Coach Kirk Ferentz is the dean of college football coaches, in his 19th season at Iowa where his record is 142-97, and in his 22nd year overall as a head coach with a record of 154-118. Ferentz is one win away from tying Hayden Fry as Iowa’s all-time winningest head football coach. His 142 overall wins and 86 B1G victories rank sixth in league history.

The Eagles Head Coach Steve Addazio is fifth year at BC where his record is 31-32. He has been a head coach for seven years and his overall record is 44-43. Addazio is the first head coach in BC history to lead the team to four bowls in the first five seasons.

The Pinstripe Bowl will be televised by ESPN with announcers Kevin Negandhi, Mack Brown, Booker McFarland, and Jen Lada. As usual it will be broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network with Gary Dolphin, Ed Podolak, and Rob Brooks. It will also be available on satellite radio – channel 80 on both XM and Sirius.

Game Notes

These two teams are similar in many respects – and both proclaim that they like to play tough, physical football. Both are also “developmental” programs whose head coaches wear that label proudly. The key stats across the board are fairly even – with but a couple of exceptions. And both like to define themselves – offensively and defensively – by running the football and stopping the other team from doing so.

Establishing the run is especially important for the Hawkeyes. Iowa is 7-0 this season when rushing for 100 yards or more but 0-5 when failing to hit that mark. In the last three seasons, the Hawkeyes are 27-1 when topping the century mark on the ground – 0-11 when not.

Linebacker Josey Jewell and Defensive Back Joshua Jackson are unanimous consensus first-team All-Americans. They become the 24th and 25th to achieve that honor in the history of Iowa Football, and it’s just the fifth time that two Hawkeyes have earned that honor in the same season. The last time was in 2003 with Robert Gallery and Nate Kaeding. Prior to that: 2002 with Eric Steinbach and Dallas Clark, 1985 with Chuck Long and Larry Station, and 1981 with Andre Tippett and Reggie Roby.

Jewell won the Lott Impact Trophy given to the best defensive impact player in the nation, and he was also the Jack Lambert Award winner as the best linebacker in college football. Jackson won the Jack Tatum Award as the best defensive back in the country. The two were among 10 Hawkeyes to earn All-Big Ten honors.

Jewell is third in the nation and tops in the Big Ten with 11.4 tackles per game. He leads the conference and is 10th nationally with 125 total tackles. He also has 13.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, and two of Iowa’s 19 interceptions.

Jackson is tops in college football with 25 passes defended and shares the NCAA lead with seven picks (along with Lucas Denis of BC). He has 18 pass breakups (2nd in the FBS) and ranks fourth in the nation with 163 interception-return yards. His seven picks lead the B1G.

The Hawkeyes lead the B1G and are second in the nation with 19 interceptions, including four pick-sixes. The latter ties a single-season team record. The Eagles are right on their heels with 18 picks which ties for fifth nationally.

Iowa is 20th nationally in scoring defense and just one of nine teams in the top 25 in scoring defense each of the last three seasons. The Hawkeyes surrender an average of 19.9 points per game.

Iowa QB Nate Stanley needs just two TD passes to tie Chuck Long for Iowa’s single-season record. Stanley has been terrific in the fourth quarter this year and Iowa has out-scored its opponents in that period 113-57. Stanley has thrown five touchdown passes in two games, becoming the first Iowa QB in history to accomplish that feat.

RB Akrum Wadley has rushed for more than 1000 yards in back-to-back seasons – just the fourth Hawkeye to do that in history. He has 1021 rushing yards going into the Pinstripe Bowl. He needs 193 more rushing yards to tie for fourth all-time. Wadley also has 27 career rushing TDs – fourth all-time – plus 10 touchdowns via the pass – for a total of 34 TDs which ranks third in Iowa history.

Iowa had terrific productivity out of its young tight ends this season. Sophomore Noah Fant leads the FBS with 17.4 yards per catch but even more impressive is that he scored 10 touchdowns on his 28 receptions – the most on this year’s team and the most for a TE in a single season in program history. Redshirt Freshman T.J. Hockenson had 23 catches – three of those resulted in TDs and 16 in a first down.

The Pinstripe Bowl is a homecoming of sorts for Wadley and Freshman Wide Receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette who both played their high school ball in Newark, New Jersey.

Boston College comes into this game having won five of its last six games. In those contests BC averaged 36 points per game and out-scored opponents by an average of 19 points per contest. Included in that stretch were wins over Florida State, at Louisville, and at Syracuse.

On Offense, the Eagles are led by Freshman Running Back A.J. Dillon who is the second leading rusher among freshmen in the country – trailing only Wisconsin’s Jonathon Taylor. Dillon finished the regular season rushing for 1432 yards which is 15th in the FBS. He was named ACC Rookie of the Year and first team All-ACC. Dillon averages 183.2 yards per game over the last half of the season – and in those games accumulated 1099 yards on the ground and 11 TDs. BC has a plethora of receivers, including tight ends, who have receptions and have caught TD passes.

The Eagles Junior Free Safety Lukas Denis is tied for the FBS lead in interceptions with Iowa’s Josh Jackson – each has seven. BC also has two very good Defensive Ends Zach Allen and Harold Landry who combine to put a lot of pressure on opposing QBs and each has five sacks. Allen is second on the team with 93 tackles, which is the second most  by a DE in the FBS. BC has a solid group of linebackers led by Senior Ty Schwab who is the team-leader with 101 tackles and also has four sacks. BC’s Defensive Coordinator Jim Reid is Iowa’s former linebackers coach.

Depth Chart

Both teams are dealing with some injuries – and now the Hawkeyes are also missing players due to disciplinary issues.

Senior SS Miles Taylor will miss the Pinstripe Bowl due to injury and surgery but the good news for Iowa is that Amani Hooker is back at full strength after missing several games due to injury. Iowa’s Defensive Secondary has actually played better with Hooker starting than it has with Taylor but depth becomes a real issue due to the fact that the Hawkeyes are already missing FS Brandon Snyder (re-injury and now indefinite suspension due to a DUI).

Of equal, if not more, importance for this game, given BC’s style of defense, is the fact that Iowa is once again shuffling its offensive line. Starting LT Alaric Jackson is suspended for this game due to a violation of team rules. That has forced starting RT Tristan Wirfs to move over the LT and then Levi Paulsen to start at RT for only the second time in his young career.

Another injury note that hasn’t been confirmed by Ferentz is at punter. Iowa started the season with Sophomore Colten Rastetter handling punting duties. He has, at best, been very inconsistent. Ferentz took the redshirt off true freshman punter Ryan Gersonde near mid-season – he was also inconsistent but was punting for a better average than Rastetter. Then sources say Gersonde was injured and has hasn’t even practiced for the past month – even though Gersonde and Rastetter are listed on the depth chart as co-starters. So it will either be Rastetter or – the more intriguing possibility QB Nate Stanley – who will be punting in the Pinstripe Bowl. Stanley was an excellent punter in high school and has already kicked twice this season.

BC’s redshirt freshman Starting QB is out after being injured in the Eagles game against NC State on November 11. He is replaced by graduate Darius Wade who is backed up by true freshman E.J. Perry. BC’s starting DE Harold Landry is also questionable for the bowl game.

Big Ten / NCAA

Eight B1G Teams are playing in bowl games, beginning with Iowa’s appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl against Boston College on Wednesday, December 27, and ending with Michigan’s game in the Outback Bowl vs. South Carolina on Monday, January 1. There are no Big Ten Teams in the national championship play-off games.

Iowa – Boston College Pinstripe Bowl Content is here and below are:

1st & 10Stats Smackdown Big Ten Bowls Iowa Bowl Record/Results