Iowa played sound defense, pounded the rock and made plays when it needed to in a game that featured five lead changes and two ties to break its five-game bowl losing streaking, beating Boston College 27-20 in the Pinstripe Bowl.
Iowa’s defense set the tone early, forcing Boston College quarterback Darius Wade to throw an interception on the third play of the game to Jake Gervase. Gervase returned it 29 yards to set Iowa up on BC’s 6-yard line.
The Hawkeyes then proceeded to pee down their leg and gained no yards on three plays to send out Miguel Recinos and settle for 3 points.
The horrific frozen turf situation revealed itself on Boston College’s next drive, as players for both sides were falling near and away from the ball. There were probably two separate plays where Boston College would have had a first down (or close to one) if the carrier didn’t slip on the turf. The Eagles were forced to punt on the eighth play of the drive, setting Iowa up on its own 8 yard line.
A six-play drive and another horrible punt from Iowa gave BC the ball with favorable field position.
And Boston College capitalized. Darius Wade picked apart Iowa’s zone and converted a 4th and long to a receiver who was virtually uncovered in the middle of the field. Three plays later, Wade found another receiver covered by Bo Bower in the middle of the field to set up first and goal on Iowa’s 6 yard line.
AJ Dillon then showed us what he’s really made of and overpowered Iowa’s defense to muscle his way into the end zone to end the first quarter.
Akrum Wadley had something to say about that, however. He returned the kickoff 72 yards to BC’s 16 yard-line to give Iowa’s offense great field position for the second time in three possessions. He ended the day with 287 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. He was named MVP following the game.
A huge sack on Nate Stanley was negated by an absolutely absurd unsportsmanlike conduct call on Boston College. An 8-yard touchdown pass to Noah Fant was set up by a nice little run by Wadley, and Iowa found itself back in the lead early in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, Iowa was trying some weird shit:
Boston College then put together a nice little drive. More players slipped and fell on the turf. And Amani Hooker’s fingertips bounced off the ball for it to land in Tommy Sweeney’s hands for a 39-yard touchdown. At this point, defense was optional for Iowa.
BC is 4 of 6 on third down. Iowa is 0 of 2. Wade is 8 of 11 for 104 yards, TD and pick. BC's last two drives: 21 plays, 132 yards and TDs on both.— Marc Morehouse (@marcmorehouse) December 27, 2017
Another nice kick return for Iowa was squandered despite setting the offense up on its 35. Nate Stanley was sacked for the second time on 1st and 5, but a 15-yard run by James Butler moved the chains for the Hawkeyes. More solid running by Butler was offset by another sack by Stanley on second down. Iowa lined up to go for it on 4th and 5, but instead Nate Stanley pooch punted it to down it on BC’s 1 yard line.
The #StanleyForPunter campaign starts now.
Annnnnnnd the excellent field position didn’t matter. AJ Dillon reeled off a 66-yard run to get Boston College in field goal range. The Iowa defense bent just well enough to force a field goal and keep the game within one score.
Iowa got the ball at its own 20 with 1:20 with all three timeouts. Brian Ferentz had generally been pretty successful in these types of situations, but the offensive line gave Nate Stanley little to work with. He was sacked on second down and pressured heavily on 3rd and 8, forcing Iowa to punt it away with 33 seconds left.
A horrific 20-yard punt by Rastetter that bounced off Tyler Kluver gave BC the ball on Iowa’s 42 yard line. The Eagles were able to move the ball a little, but Iowa went into the locker room relatively unscathed as Boston College whiffed its field goal wide right.
17-10 bad guys at half.
Iowa started the second frame with the ball and another great return from Wadley set Iowa up on its 40. Run to the left with Butler for a 2 yard loss. Run to the left with Wadley for no gain. Nate Stanley sacked. Vomit. Rinse. Repeat.
Iowa’s second drive of the third quarter was more fruitful. A B-E-AUTIFUL 32-yard completion to Nick Easley set up a 5-yard touchdown run for Wadley. Prior to that play, Iowa had just 33 passing yards in the entire game.
Iowa and Boston College traded possessions without consequence for the remainder of the third quarter
A solid drive for Iowa to start the fourth quarter yielded 3 points. Akrum Wadley had a nice dump off for 17 yards on third down after a TJ Hockenson drew a pass interference call to get Iowa into BC territory. For the most part the run game was there; Wadley and the offensive line moved the pile often, but poorly-touched passes kept the offense grounded. Boston College got the ball back with 11 minutes left in the game down 3.
The Eagles responded. A 31-yard kick return set up a 48-yard pass to Tommy Sweeney to get the Eagles in the red zone. A false start shot BC in the foot, and the Eagles were forced to settle for a field goal, leaving Iowa relatively unscathed. Sweeney was Boston College’s MVP, he had 7 catches for 137 yards and a score. No Boston College receiver had a 100-yard game this season.
Iowa got the ball back with 8 minutes left and the chance to win the game. What ensued was some of the most mind-numbing football I’ve ever seen. James Butler run for a 2 yard gain. Wadley run for a 2 yard loss. Delay of game penalty. Wadley to the right for a 1 yard loss.
Boston College got the ball at midfield with 5:22 to play.
And that was ballgame.
Or so every Iowa fan in the universe thought.
In what seemed to be the first time Iowa got pressure on Wade all day, the Hawks profited. Anthony Nelson forced the ball loose from Wade on the most critical third down of the game and Parker Hesse fell on it. Iowa ball.
With 4:22 left to go Nate Stanley lined up in the gun and handed it off to Wadley who reeled off a 27-yard gain.
On the very next play Nate Wieting hauled in a 17-yard ball that was inches short from being a touchdown. Fullback Drake Kulick got his day in the sun, and scored on the very next play.
Boston College ran it on first and second down with under three minutes left to play, for some reason but was able to convert on third and 6.
But it didn’t matter. I haven’t mentioned Josh Jackson at all in this writing. And that’s fine, because he had a tipped interception to give him a nation-leading 8 picks.
It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.
Winning in subzero weather despite getting outgained almost 2:1 and going 2/11 on third downs is some maximum Iowa shit.— Nick Adducci (@NickAdducci) December 28, 2017
Iowa finishes the year at 8-5 with a bowl win over a solid Boston College team. We’ll see some all-time greats leave the program due to graduation (and maybe one to an early draft) this year, but there’s still high hopes for 2018.
We’ll have more on this win later. Thanks for playing with us. Go Hawks. Let’s celebrate.