2017 Pinstripe Bowl: A Tale of Two Halves

Pinstripe Bowl

The 2017 Pinstripe Bowl brought us another close football game in Yankee Stadium. In fact, the last time the Pinstripe Bowl was more than a one-possession game was 2013. Since this bowl began in 2010, the final margin of victory has only been more than 14 once (2012). This bowl just keeps on providing entertaining games, and this year was no exception.

2017 Pinstripe Bowl: A Tale of Two Halves

This year’s edition was very much a tale of two halves. Boston College controlled the entirety of the first half, while Iowa dictated the terms in the second half. The difference in the game, ultimately, came down to two things. Iowa forced three turnovers (Boston College forced zero), and Iowa managed to flip the field more with special teams play. If either of those two factors had gone the other way, Iowa likely does not end up with its 27-20 victory.

First half

Iowa got the game started with a great play on defense, returning an interception to the Boston College six-yard line. However, the Hawkeyes could not earn a single yard and had to settle for a field goal. After Boston College’s first touchdown, a huge kickoff return by Akrum Wadley set up Iowa’s only touchdown of the first half.

Boston College, on the other hand, was dominant in the first half. The offense, led by star freshman running back AJ Dillon, moved four drives deep into Iowa territory. Boston College earned two touchdowns in the first half, but missed a field goal at the very end of the half.

The stats at halftime clearly show a very one-sided game. Boston College outgained Iowa by a whopping 225 yards of offense. An interception return, a huge kickoff return, and a missed Boston College field goal kept the score a relatively close 17-10. Otherwise–and Iowa is very fortunate that these all happened–this could have been well on its way to a blowout.

Second Half

As much as Boston College dominated the first half, Iowa controlled the second. The stats don’t show it–neither team gained over 150 yards in the second half–but the Hawkeyes controlled the field position and time of possession in the final 30 minutes. Again led by Wadley, along with a stout defense, Iowa outscored Boston College 17-3 in the second half.

This game, as expected, was a grinding example of power football. Combined with the frozen field in the cold New York winter, this game didn’t have too many highlight-reel plays (though Iowa quarterback Nathan Stanley made a few incredible throws), but it was a good football game, especially for those who appreciate defense. The game was emblematic of both programs and coaches, and did not disappoint.

With the win, Iowa snaps a five-game bowl losing skid. Iowa’s last three bowl losses had come by an average of over 24 points. This was a much-needed postseason win for the program, as the team had regressed quite a bit since its huge win over Ohio State the first week in November. Iowa likely won’t end this season ranked, but the Hawkeyes return a lot of talent and now have momentum entering 2018, where a favorable schedule could mean a pretty decent national ranking–or maybe even a Big Ten West title.

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