New Era Pinstripe Bowl Preview
Dec. 18, 2017

B1G BOWL PREVIEWS: Foster Farms | Pinstripe | Music City | Holiday | Outback | Fiesta | Orange | Cotton

Iowa (7-5, 4-5 B1G) is making its 31st bowl appearance in school history, but its inaugural trip to Yankee Stadium for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The Hawkeyes will battle Boston College (7-5, 4-4 ACC) in the Bronx, N.Y., on Wednesday, Dec. 27.  Kickoff is set for 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Iowa, the fourth Big Ten school to play in the Pinstripe Bowl, heads to the Big Apple looking to even its all-time bowl record as the Hawkeyes have posted a 14-15-1 record in 30 previous bowl games. Iowa ranks third among Big Ten teams in bowl appearances and is bowl eligible for the 16th time under head coach Kirk Ferentz, who will tie Hayden Fry as Iowa’s all-time winningest coach (143 wins) with a victory in the bowl game. The 2017 schedule was no stroll for the Hawkeyes as they played the sixth toughest schedule in the country. Iowa's 12 opponents in 2017 have a combined record of 91-55 (.623), including three nonconference opponents (Wyoming, Iowa State, North Texas) that went a combined 23-13. The Hawkeyes' biggest win of the year was a 55-24 victory over then-No. 3 Ohio State at Kinnick Stadium.

Boston College finished the regular season winning five of its last six games, securing its 26th overall bowl bid, including the 16th in the last 19 years. The Eagles are making their fourth bowl appearance in five seasons under head coach Steve Addazio, who boasts a 1-2 bowl record in that span. This year’s contest marks the second appearance for BC in the Pinstripe Bowl, as the Eagles fell 31-30 in overtime to Penn State in 2014. All totaled, BC boasts a 14-11 bowl record and enters on the heels a 36-30 win over Maryland in last year’s Quick Lane Bowl, which marked the Eagles’ first bowl win since 2007. Like Iowa, Boston College also played a daunting schedule this year, ranked as the 12th-toughest in the country. In fact, BC is one of four teams nationally - and just one of two teams who will play in a bowl game - that faced 10 teams going to a bowl game in 2017. Having played UConn at Fenway Park last month, BC will have the unique opportunity to be the first FBS team to play at both Fenway Park (home of the Boston red Sox) and Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees) in the same season since New York University did so in 1948.

The Pinstripe Bowl marks the first ever meeting between Iowa and Boston College. The Hawkeyes are 8-11 all-time against members of the ACC, but have been victorious in the last four head-to-head matchups. BC is 2-1 all-time against the Big Ten in bowl games.





Scoring Defense

Total Offense

Total Defense

Rushing Offense

Rushing Defense

Passing Offense

Passing Defense

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Iowa’s offense ranks fifth in the Big Ten in scoring (28.3), eighth in passing (197.8), 10th in total yards (340.3), and 11th in rushing (142.4). In the second half of the season, the Hawkeyes seemed to either double their scoring average or post half of it on the scoreboard. In the month of November alone, Iowa scored 55 points in the upset win over Ohio State, was held to 14 and 15 points in losses to Wisconsin and Purdue, respectively, but closed the regular season with 56 points against Nebraska. It’s the first time Iowa has scored 50 or more points in multiple Big Ten games in a season since 1990, but the Hawkeyes were also held under 20 points six times. In the finale against Nebraska, Iowa senior running back Akrum Wadley rushed 19 times for 159 yards and three touchdowns, bringing his season average to 85.1 yards per game, good for fifth in the Big Ten. Under center, Nathan Stanley is sixth in the league in passing yards per game (194.8), fifth in passing efficiency (135.4), and third in passing touchdowns (25) – a league-high 10 of which went to sophomore tight end Noah Fant.

Boston College’s defense is fifth in the ACC in passing yards allowed (199.7), sixth in scoring (22.5), 11th in total yards allowed (398.1), and 13th against the run (198.4). The Eagles boast one of the nation’s top units defending the pass as they are fourth nationally in pass efficiency defense (100.75), tied for fifth in interceptions (18), and tied for 13th in turnovers gained (25). Junior free safety Lukas Denis, a second-team All-ACC honoree, is tied for first nationally with seven interceptions. Junior defensive back William Harris is also tied for first nationally with four fumble recoveries. Three other defenders were recognized by the ACC as senior defensive end Harold Landry (8.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks) and senior linebacker Ty Schwab (8.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks) picked up second-team All-ACC honors, while junior defensive end Zach Allen (14.5 TFL, 5.0 sacks) was named to the third team.

On offense, Boston College is third in the ACC in rushing (224.2), ninth in total yards (387.0), 10th in scoring (26.2), and 13th in passing (162.8). By comparison, the Eagles are one of the nation’s top-25 ground attacks, but rank in the bottom-25 in the passing game. However, BC had found its rhythm in the second half of the season. Over the last six games, BC is averaging 36 points per game and outscoring the opposition by 19 points per contest including wins over Florida State (35-3), at Louisville (45-42) and at Virginia (41-10). In fact, Boston College has the seventh-most improved scoring offense among Power 5 teams nationally. The star of the offense has been ACC Rookie of the Year and All-ACC first team selection AJ Dillon, the nation's second-leading rusher among freshmen and the country's No. 15 overall rusher with 1,432 yards and 13 touchdowns. BC’s offense did take a hit on Nov. 11 when talented redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Brown suffered a season-ending leg injury. Prior to the injury, Brown was in the top five among rookie signal callers in passing yards (1,367) and passing touchdowns (11). Despite being without Brown’s services, BC was the only team in the country this year to have a freshman lead the team in passing (Brown), rushing (Dillon) and receiving (Kobay White). In Brown’s absence, graduate student Darius Wade went 23-for-35 for 303 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in wins over UConn and Syracuse, all while Dillon rushed for 200 yards and two scores and 193 yards and three TDs in those games, respectively. He has averaged 183.2 yards per game over the last half of the season. BC has also had solid protection up front, led by second-team All-ACC tackle Chris Lindstrom, as the Eagles are 10th nationally with just 12 sacks allowed this season.

Iowa’s defense unit ranks sixth in the Big Ten in scoring (19.9), eighth against the rush (142.1) and in total yards allowed (355.3), and ninth in defending the pass (213.3). Senior linebacker Josey Jewell anchors the defensive unit, as he has recently won the Lott IMPACT Trophy and Jack Lambert Award, as well as the Big Ten Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year and Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year honors. He leads the Big Ten and ranks third nationally in tackles (125 total, 11.4 per game). Jewell and junior defensive back Josh Jackson were recently named consensus All-Americans. Jackson, the Big Ten's Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year and Jack Tatum Award winner, is tied for the national lead with BC’s Denis with seven interceptions. He also leads the nation with 25 passes defended and is tied for second in interception return touchdowns (two), and pass break-ups (18). The Hawkeyes’ 19 interceptions rank second nationally, while their four defensive TDs are seventh-best. It will all be stopping the run against BC, however, and the Hawkeyes were certainly tested against talented rushers in Big Ten play. Although Iowa allowed Penn State’s Saquon Barkley (211) and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor (157) to break loose, the Hawkeyes also kept Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins to more than half of his 104.9 average and held Northwestern’s Justin Jackson below his 96.2 average.

On special teams, Iowa ranks sixth nationally in kickoff return defense (16.78) and 33rd in punt return defense (5.06). Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes are 31st nationally in kickoff returns (22.76), led by freshman Ivory Kelly-Martin, who is fourth in the Big Ten at 21.3 yards per return. Junior kicker Miguel Recinos is 9-of-11 this year in field goal kicking, while sophomore punter Colten Rastetter averages 38.4 yards per punt. BC’s Michael Walker has shined in the return game, leading the country with 1,110 combined return yards. He ranks fourth nationally with 13.7 yards on punt returns and 36th with 24.3 yards on kickoffs. Punter Mike Knoll averages 40.2 yards attempt, while kicker Colton Lichtenberg has struggled this season, making just 10-of-17 field goal attempts.