Boston College and Iowa enter Wednesday’s New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium coming off regular seasons with plenty of highs and lows, which may explain why they have identical 7-5 records.
The Eagles of the ACC and the Big Ten’s Hawkeyes also are similar in their styles of play, and both teams plan to be physical.
“Boston College, very impressive football team,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz told reporters last week. “We’ve had a chance to see them on film now. They’re a good football team, strong, physical. I think in a lot of ways the style of football they play is a little bit like ours.”
Boston College head coach Steve Addazio has similar thoughts about Iowa.
“This is a good football team,” Addazio told reporters regarding Iowa earlier this month. “Well-coached team. They’re going to play hard. It’s going to be a physical game. I think both teams are fundamentally sound. Both teams are going to play with a physical edge and mentality.”
The Eagles (7-5, 4-4 in the ACC) were 2-4 at the midway point of their regular season before rallying to win five of their last six games. Among the highlights of the second-half surge were wins at Louisville and Virginia, and a home win over Florida State. The only setback was a 3-point loss against a good North Carolina State team.
Freshman running back A.J. Dillon, who rushed for 1,432 yards and 13 touchdowns, had a spectacular final six games of the regular season. Dillon’s rushing totals over those six games were 272, 89, 149, 196, 200 and 193. He also rushed for 11 of his 13 touchdowns.
Dillon will face a tough Iowa defense, anchored by two All-Americans: senior linebacker Josey Jewell and junior cornerback Josh Jackson.
Iowa (7-5, 4-5 in the Big Ten) nearly upset then-No. 4 Penn State at home in late September, losing 21-19 on a last-second touchdown catch. Iowa was 5-3 when it hosted then-No. 6 Ohio State and got a very impressive 55-24 win. Ohio State, the Big Ten champions, and Penn State are both playing in New Year’s Six bowl games on Jan. 1.
Boston College’s defense will need to worry about multiple players on Iowa’s offense. Sophomore quarterback Nathan Stanley has thrown for 25 touchdowns, senior running back Akrum Wadley has rushed for 1,021 yards and nine touchdowns and sophomore tight end Noah Fant has caught 10 touchdowns.
The Eagles, however, could have a big crowd advantage, with alums in the New York City metropolitan area and Yankee Stadium within a reasonable driving distance from Boston. Boston College had a very good crowd for its last appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl in 2014 against Penn State.
Said Addazio: “My anticipation in New York will be we’ll have a great following from Boston College who will be there and excited, and it will energize our team.”