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CFT Previews: New Era Pinstripe Bowl

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WHO: Iowa (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5)
WHAT: The 8th New Era Pinstripe Bowl
WHEN: 5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, New York City, New York
THE SKINNY: The Pinstripe Bowl has had a nice little run of entertaining games these last few years. Since lining up a deal with the Big Ten and ACC to fill out the bowl game, three games have been decided by a combined total of 11 points, with a pair of overtime games in the mix. Could this year keep that trend going?

Boston College makes their return to the Pinstripe Bowl for the first time since playing Penn State in 2014, an overtime game won by the Nittany Lions. The Eagles are also coming into the bowl season with plenty of momentum to close out the regular season. Steve Addazio’s program has won five of the last six games, with the lone setback being a 17-14 loss to NC State. Boston College closed out the regular season with blowout wins over UConn and Syracuse to establish some northeastern supremacy over a pair of regional rivals. Boston College also mashed Florida State, 35-3.

AJ Dillon has continued to carry the legacy of Boston College’s running game with 1,432 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Jon Hilliman has also played a key role in the running game with 622 yards and five touchdowns this season. He is also a threat to be involved in the passing game as well. Boston College will hope to thrive on the ground against the Iowa Hawkeyes, who also are known for their ability to run the football.

Akrum Wadley will be the main star for the Iowa offense. The New Jersey native has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in back-to-back seasons and has scored nine rushing touchdowns this season. He also can do some damage as a receiver with 329 receiving yards and three additional touchdowns.

This game could very well go two completely different ways. It could be one of the lowest-scoring games in the bowl season controlled by the running games on both sides, or things could set off unexpected fireworks at any moment and make for another wild back-and-forth Pinstripe Bowl.

THE PICK: Boston College 26, Iowa 23

Wimbush and Adams power 500-yard rushing attack for Notre Dame over Boston College

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Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush did plenty of damage with his legs in a 49-20 victory over Boston College. Wimbush made up for a sub-par passing day by rushing for 207 rushing yards and four touchdowns, including a 65-yard run. Not to be outdone, Irish running back Josh Adams rushed for a game-high 229 yards in the road win.

If there was a key point in the second half, it may have come in the third quarter when Boston College failed to pick up a first down on a fourth-and-short at the Irish 30-yard line. The Eagles trailed 14-13 at the time and handed the ball to Jon Hilliman. In most situations, this would be a good decision for the Eagles, but it failed them this time. Notre Dame snuffed out the play and prevented Hilliman from picking up the first down. Notre Dame then orchestrated a nine-play drive to tack on a touchdown to push the lead to 21-13. Brandon Wimbush came through with the key play of the drive with his feet with a 46-yard run down the right side of the field on a 3rd and 10 from the Irish 45-yard line. Tony Jones Jr. later finished the drive with a one-yard score.

Boston College followed that sequence up by ending a drive with an interception, with Shaun Crawford picking off a pass. at the Notre Dame 27-yard line. Adams started the Irish drive with a 36-yard run, and Wimbush followed with a 33-yard pass to Durham Smythe to put the Irish inside the 10-yard line. Wimbush finished the drive by beating the BC defense to the right corner of the field to score a touchdown.

From there, Notre Dame continued to use the ground game to their advantage, scoring seven rushing touchdowns in the game.

Wimbush’s four rushing touchdowns and rushing yardage are school records for a Notre Dame quarterback.

Notre Dame will be on the road once again next week to take on Michigan State. The Spartans had a bye week this week but have gotten off to a bit of a confidence-boosting start to the season with back-to-back double-digit victories against Western Michigan and Bowling Green. Michigan State won last year’s meeting, 36-28, to snap a three-game losing streak against the Irish from 2011 through 2013.

It won’t get any easier for Boston College next week. The Eagles head to Death Valley to face defending national champion Clemson, who will either be coming off a big road win at Louisville or looking to get back on track after a loss. Either way, neither scenario is a good one for the Eagles.

Josh Adams powering Notre Dame run game against BC; Irish up 14-10

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Two first-half touchdown runs by Brandon Wimbush to finish off drives have given Notre Dame a 14-10 lead on Boston College at halftime. Both of the Wimbush touchdowns have finished off scoring drives fueled by Notre Dame running back Josh Adams, who already is up to 167 rushing yards so far this afternoon.

After the teams exchanged punts on the first two series of the game, Boston College was first to put some points on the scoreboard with a 38-yard field goal from Colton Lichtenberg. Notre Dame wasted little time responding with a quick, four-play touchdown drive. Wimbush punched one home from two yards out on a drive highlighted one play earlier with an Adams run of 65 yards. In the first half, Adams became the 17th Irish running back to go over 2,000 career yards.

Boston College took the lead in the second quarter with Anthony Brown completing a 22-yard pass to Charlie Callinan for six points. The touchdown drive took nine plays to cover 85 yards in just over three minutes. Jon Hilliman started the drive with a 29-yard run from the BC 25-yard line.

Wimbush finished off a second touchdown drive once again led by Adams to give the Irish the 14-10 lead before halftime. Wimbush was picked off on an overthrown pass in the last minute of the half, but Boston College was unable to take advantage and seemed to give up on the half with timeouts to spare. I’m not sure anyone is capable of explaining this coaching decision.

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

Boston College holds off Maryland to win first bowl game since 2007

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Boston College (7-6) held off Maryland (6-7) in the Quick Lane Bowl by batting down pass after pass and not letting the Terrapins into the end zone despite multiple first-and-goal opportunities in the fourth quarter. Boston College secured its first bowl victory in nine years by winning in Detroit on Monday, 36-30.

Boston College sacked Maryland quarterback Perry Hills eight times, which tied the school record for most sacks in a game. the Eagles also forced four turnovers in the game and held Maryland to converting just four of 15 third-down plays. Maryland was also 0-for-2 on fourth down in the game, which also saw 11 penalties called on Maryland (and six more on Boston College). Maryland had a great chance to carve into the Boston College lead late in the game, but was unable to crack the end zone when it needed to the most.

Boston College quarterback Patrick Towles completed just 10 of his 22 pass attempts for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and he also caught a 20-yard touchdown pass. Jon Hilliman led the Boston College running game with 79 yards and a touchdown. Maryland quarterback Hills passed for 229 yards and two touchdowns when his passes were not being batted down at the line of scrimmage. Deep passes were the keys to the Maryland offense, with Teldrick Morgan taking one play 63 yards and Levern Jacobs going for 52 yards on touchdown plays. Boston College jumped out to a 16-0 lead in the first half but Maryland chipped away before stalling in the fourth quarter.

The ACC is now 1-0 in the bowl season, while the Big Ten opens up its postseason with a loss. Boston College won its first bowl game since 2007, while Maryland will continue to look for its first bowl victory since firing Ralph Friedgen (2010) when it takes the field in 2017.

Maryland will begin the 2017 season on the road on September 2, 2017 against Texas, which will serve as the Longhorns coaching debut of Tom Herman in Austin. Boston College will also start the 2017 season on the road with a September 1 game at Northern Illinois.