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Iowa snaps bowl losing streak with Pinstripe Bowl victory over Boston College

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Iowa had not won a bowl game since 2010, but that drought is now over. The Hawkeyes (8-5) scored a go-ahead touchdown moments after a costly Boston College (7-6) fumble and the defense held on for a 27-20 victory in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium Wednesday evening.

Drake Kulick powered his way in from inside the one-yard line for a go-ahead touchdown after an instant replay overturned a touchdown reception for Nate Wieting. Wieting hauled in a pass for a 17-yard gain from Nate Stanley immediately after a 27-yard run from Akrum Wadley as Iowa made quick work off a Boston College fumble. Boston College quarterback Darius Wade had the ball knocked out of his hands by Anthony Nelson at midfield with 4:22 to play. Iowa outscored Boston College 10-3 in the fourth quarter after shutting out Boston College in the third quarter.

Iowa’s standout defensive star, Joshua Jackson, had the ball thrown away from him most of the night, but he picked off a pass from wade in the final 90 seconds of the game to help Iowa put the game on ice. It’s also worth noting the game was played in below-freezing temperatures since kickoff, making for a tough playing surface to gain much traction on for both teams. It took Iowa a while to get warmed up on offense against a stingy defense, but it clicked when it mattered the most.

Boston College out-gained Iowa 387-200 in the game but three turnovers to Iowa’s none was too much to overcome. Iowa scored 10 points off those three turnovers, including a field goal in the opening minutes of the game despite getting the ball at the Boston College six-yard line. Boston College running back AJ Dillon rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

The win moves Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz into a tie for the most wins in program history with Hayden Fry. Iowa also gets the Big Ten off to a 1-0 mark in the postseason, while the ACC takes its first hit and is now 2-1.

Boston College will open the 2018 season at home on Sep. 1, 2018 against in-state opponent UMass. Boston College will face one of Iowa’s division foes, Purdue, on the road next season (Sep. 22). Iowa’s 2018 season will also begin on Sep. 1 with a home game against Northern Illinois, followed by a home game against Iowa State of the Big 12.

AJ Dillon powering Boston College to halftime lead on Iowa in frigid Pinstripe Bowl

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With the temperature below freezing level, Boston College players have resorted to wearing shoes without cleats to try and keep their footing. Maybe it’s working, with the Eagles leading Iowa at halftime of the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium, 17-10 at halftime.

Boston College’s defense made some big plays early in the game after an early turnover gave Iowa the ball at the BC six-yard line. But after three plays without yielding a single yard, Boston College escaped having just allowed a field goal. The Eagles took the lead later in the first quarter with A.J. Dillon running four yards for a score.

A controversial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Boston College’s Noa Merritt gave Iowa a chance to capitalize on a questionable penalty. After sacking Nathan Stanley for a loss of 12 yards on 2nd and 6, Merritt was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, a 15-yard penalty that came with an automatic first down. Two plays later, Stanley completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Noah Fant to take the lead. Video replay of the penalty in question sure looked like a flag that never should have really been called in a bowl game, or any game, unless there were some choice words that came with the celebration.

Boston College responded with 10 points in the second quarter to take the 17-10 lead into the halftime break. Boston College scored a touchdown on a tipped pass deflection that landed right into the hands of Tommy Sweeney.

Boston College tacked on a late field goal on a drive that started on their four-yard line following a quick kick by Iowa.

A game expected to be a big one for the star running backs has been one-sided in favor of BC’s Dillon. Dillon has already rushed for 126 yards while Iowa’s Akrum Wadley has rushed for just 22 yards on six carries (Wadley did have a long kickoff return in the first half).

Doak Walker Award watch list highlighted by 2016 semifinalists Barkley and Pettway

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A watch list of the top running backs in the nation has been released by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum on Thursday. The Doak Walker Award watch list is full of great players, including 2016 Doak Walker Award semifinalists Saquon Barkley (Penn State) and Kamryn Pettway (Auburn).

Among those included on this year’s initial Doak Walker Award watch list (more players can be added at any time) are LSU’s Derrius Guice, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, LJ Scott of Michigan State, Mike Weber of Ohio State, and Bo Scarbrough of Alabama, Washington’s Myles Gaskin, and Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin.

D’Onta Foreman of Texas beat out both Barkley and Pettway last season for the award. The Doak Walker Award has been presented to the nation’s top running back annually since 1990. Among the winners over the years have included Ricky Williams, LaDainian Tomlinson, Reggie Bush, and Montee Ball.

To be included on this watch list, the university athletic department must submit a nomination.

2017 Doak Walker Award Watch List

Josh Adams, Notre Dame
Ryquell Armstead, Temple
Kalen Ballage, Arizona State
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Alex Barnes, Kansas State
Jamauri Bogan, Western Michigan
D’Angelo Brewer, Tulsa
Nick Chubb, Georgia
Jordan Chunn, Troy
Justin Crawford, West Virginia
Damarea Crockett, Missouri
Rico Dowdle, South Carolina
D’Andre Ferby, WKU
Kendrick Foster, Illinois
Jarvion Franklin, Western Michigan
Myles Gaskin, Washington
James Gilbert, Ball State
Derrius Guice, LSU
Damien Harris, Alabama
Kyle Hicks, TCU
Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
Jon Hilliman, Boston College
Justin Jackson, Northwestern
Chris James, Wisconsin
Ty Johnson, Maryland
Ronald Jones II, USC
Ray Lawry, Old Dominion
Phillip Lindsay, Colorado
Tonny Lindsey Jr., Utah State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Sony Michel, Georgia
Dedrick Mills, Georgia Tech
David Montgomery, Iowa State
Jamal Morrow, Washington State
Ryan Nall, Oregon State
Jacques Patrick, Florida State
Kamryn Pettway, Auburn
Demario Richard, Arizona State
Diocemy Saint Juste, Hawaii
Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
Jordan Scarlett, Florida
LJ Scott, Michigan State
Bradrick Shaw, Wisconsin
Armand Shyne, Utah
Justin Silmon, Kansas State
Ito Smith, Southern Miss
Rodney Smith, Minnesota
Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky
Terry Swanson, Toledo
Shaq Vann, Eastern Michigan
Akrum Wadley, Iowa
Mark Walton, Miami
Warren Wand, Arkansas State
Tre Watson, California
Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt
Mike Weber, Ohio State
Braeden West, SMU
Devwah Whaley, Arkansas
Aeris Williams, Mississippi State
Shaun Wilson, Duke
Marquis Young, Massachusetts

No. 17 Florida defense dominates Iowa in Outback Bowl blowout, 30-3

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Austin Appleby may not have been able to beat Iowa (8-5) while he was at Purdue, but he was able to do that on Monday in the Outback Bowl with the No. 17 Florida Gators (9-4). Appleby had early mistakes with a pair of turnovers on the first two drives of the game, but Appleby ended his day with 222 yards and two touchdowns to help the Gators pull away from the Hawkeyes in Tampa in a 30-3 victory.

The story of the game was Florida’s defense, which came up with three interceptions of Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard and held the Iowa offense to just 55 passing yards. Iowa was limited to just 226 yards of offense and went 4-of-16 on third down. Even a 100-yard day from Akrum Wadley (115 yards) was not enough to keep the Hawkeyes within reach once the game snowballed out of control.

Florida scored the first touchdown of the game on an 85-yard pass play to Mark Thompson with multiple missed tackles along the way. Chauncey Gardner padded a comfortable 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter with a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown, and the Gators tacked on two more field goals from there to pile on in the 27-point victory. Considering how Florida was embarrassed last season by a Big Ten team in the bowl season (Michigan), this must have been a little extra sweet to do the same to another Big Ten team.

The loss by the Hawkeyes clinches a losing bowl record this season for the Big Ten. At 3-6 and just one game remaining to play (Penn State in the Rose Bowl), the Big Ten had a rough postseason that included two New Years Six bowl losses by Michigan and Ohio State (in the College Football Playoff). A Penn State win would at least give the Big Ten a split in NY6 bowl games if it can beat USC in the Rose Bowl. The SEC is now 6-5 in the bowl season with two more games to play. Auburn faces Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl later tonight and Alabama will face Clemson in the nationla championship game next week.

Iowa has now been outscored 172-75 in its last five bowl games, which has culminated in a five-game bowl losing streak for Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes. Florida head coach Jim McElwain picked up his first bowl victory of his career.

Iowa’s 2017 season will get underway on September 2 at home against Wyoming from the Mountain West Conference. Iowa will play key division game son the road against Wisconsin and Nebraska next fall, as well as on the road against Big Ten East opponent Michigan State (who can’t possibly be as bad in 2017 as they were in 2016, right). The Hawkeyes also host Ohio State in early November next fall.

Florida’s 2017 season will start in Arlington, Texas against the Michigan Wolverines on September 2 in the Cowboys Kickoff. Other non-conference games will include home games against UAB (the Blazers are back in 2017!) and rival Florida State. In conference play, the Gators host Tennessee as well as LSU and Texas A&M.

As a reminder, the Florida victory means you get a free bloomin’ onion at your local Outback Steakhouse tomorrow, January 3.

Wisconsin claims B1G West as Nebraska’s blasted by Iowa

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Wisconsin added to its football hardware collection Black Friday, and they didn’t even need to get of the couch to do it.

Thanks to a loss to UW earlier in the season, Nebraska needed a win over Iowa Friday as well as a UW loss to Minnesota on Saturday to win the Big Ten West.  Instead, that honor will go to the Badgers regardless of what happens tomorrow as the Hawkeyes thoroughly outplayed the Cornhuskers in the first half and then cruised to a 40-10 thumping in Iowa City.

A pair of 100-yard rushers paved the way for the Hawkeyes’ win, with LeShun Daniels running for a game-high 158 yards and Akrum Wadley chipping in 105 on just 11 carries.  Daniels and Wadley combined for three scores on the ground, with two going to the former.

Three of quarterback C.J. Beathard‘s 10 completions, in 15 attempts, went for touchdowns.

Iowa finishes the regular season at 8-4, while Nebraska ended at 9-3.  A bowl win for the Cornhuskers would give them their first 10-win season since 2012.

With NU’s loss, though, this will mark the Badgers’ second appearance in the Big Ten championship game and their fourth in five seasons.  They will face either Michigan, Ohio State or Penn State depending on how Saturday plays out.

If UM beats OSU, the Wolverines will win the East.  If OSU beats UM and PSU beats Michigan State, it’s the Nittany Lions booking a trip to Indianapolis next Saturday.  The only way the Buckeyes can earn the divisional title is by beating the Wolverines and hoping the Spartans can do the same to the Nittany Lions.