Akrum Wadley, Iowa Nab Pinstripe Bowl Win vs. Boston College

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2017

Boston College linebacker Kevin Bletzer (49) prepares to tackle Iowa running back Akrum Wadley (25) who runs with the ball during the first quarter of the Pinstripe Bowl NCAA college football game, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The Iowa Hawkeyes snapped their five-game winless streak in bowl games with a 27-20 victory over the Boston College Eagles in the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium in New York City.

Akrum Wadley finished with 88 rushing yards and a touchdown to help deliver the win, and Drake Kulick's one-yard touchdown run with 3:09 remaining in the fourth quarter was the difference in the result.

The Pinstripe Bowl proved to be a battle between the two running backs.

In addition to his performance on the ground, Wadley caught two passes for 24 yards and returned five kicks for 171 yards. Although Wadley's collegiate career is over, Yahoo Sports' Dr. Saturday believes the senior has a bright future ahead at the next level:

On the opposite side, AJ Dillon had 157 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries, his fourth straight game with at least 150 rushing yards. NFL free-agent safety Will Blackmon, who played four years for Boston College, marveled at Dillon's effort:

The frigid conditions in New York City presented a lot of problems for the two teams. In addition to battling cold temperatures, they also had to deal with a field that had frozen over. Some Boston College players exchanged their cleats for a shoe that would allow them to have more traction, per ESPN CollegeFootball:

Entering the game, many fans expected a defensive struggle. It's not as if Boston College and Iowa were known for their explosive offenses; the Eagles and Hawkeyes ranked 84th and 108th, respectively, in total offense. The wintry weather meant points would come at even more of a premium.

Iowa lived up to its reputation by finishing with 200 total yards. Although Boston College had 383 total yards, 281 of those came in the first half.

In particular, the Hawkeyes did a great job of bottling up Dillon in the second half, limiting him to 31 yards in the final two quarters. That put a lot of pressure on Eagles quarterback Darius Wade.

Wade went 16-of-27 for 208 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, the latter of which proved costly.

On Boston College's first drive after Kulick's touchdown, Joshua Jackson intercepted Wade's pass with 1:18 remaining. Bleacher Report's Connor Rogers wasn't surprised to see Jackson force the turnover:

The Eagles had one more possession to try to tie the game, but they needed to go 82 yards in 54 seconds with zero timeouts. Anthony Nelson and Parker Hesse combined to sack Wade on 3rd-and-3 at the Boston College 25-yard line, which ate precious time off the clock. Wade threw an incomplete pass as time expired to end the game.

Although this is now the fourth time in five seasons the team has won seven games under head coach Steve Addazio, the program should be headed for bigger things in 2018.

In addition to Dillon, the Eagles will get leading passer Anthony Brown back once he recovers from his season-ending leg injury. Only three starters on defense are seniors, so much of the first team will return there as well.

With nonconference games against Massachusetts, Purdue, Temple and Holy Cross coming up next year, eight or nine wins may be an achievable goal for Boston College.

Iowa's outlook isn't so rosy. Wadley graduates, which will leave a significant void in the backfield.

Nick Easley and Noah Fant, the Hawkeyes' top two receivers, and Nathan Stanley will return to help pick up the slack on offense with Wadley gone. But head coach Kirk Ferentz will also have to deal with a defense that's losing five starters and potentially Jackson as well since the junior projects as a high NFL draft pick.

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