NEW YORK – Iowa’s Akrum Wadley – competing just a hop, skip, and a jump from his hometown of Newark, N.J. – did not only show that he has the chops to grind out yards between the tackles at the next level.
The senior running back, who’s projected to be a mid-round draft pick in April, also returned a pair of kicks 72 yards and 40 yards, showcasing his potential on special teams in Iowa's 27-20 Pinstripe Bowl victory over Boston College Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
“Akrum has always been a great guy to work with,” said Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz. “Great attitude. Great personality. What a career he’s had.
“I’m just happy for him to be home like this, and to do this in front of so many family and friends. I wish him and all of our seniors nothing but the best.”
The temperature at kickoff was 23 degrees. By the fourth quarter, it was in the teens. Hey, there are worse ways to spend Christmas than with a week in the Big Apple.
Just ask BC Coach Steve Addazio, who began lobbying for an invitation to the Pinstripe Bowl early in the season. The Eagles have planted their flag in New Jersey, particularly in the northern part of the state, which has some of the most-fertile recruiting ground in the country.
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BC lists 15 players on its roster who hail from the Garden State. Three contributors on offense – center Ben Petrula, running back Jon Hilliman, and wide receiver Charlie Callinan – attended the same high school (St. Peter’s Prep) in Jersey City, just across the Hudson River.
Petrula, who blocked for Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush in high school, started 12 games as a true freshman. Meanwhile, Hilliman carried four times for 16 yards on Saturday night, and Callinan had three receptions for 20 yards.
Tale of two halves
Iowa was outgained 281-56 in yardage in the first half, yet trailed only 17-10 on the scoreboard. The Hawkeyes covered more real estate, 58 yards, in their third-quarter scoring drive, which spanned just 3:31, than they did in the first 24 minutes.
Iowa then took the lead, 20-17, early in the fourth quarter, when Mason City native Miguel Recinos capped a 10-play drive with a 38-yard field goal.
“We knew we had our work cut out (for us) coming here for this football game,” said Ferentz. “We just played a little tougher, a little grittier in the second half.”
Connecting the dots
Although the Pinstripe Bowl marked the first-ever meeting between the two programs, it doesn’t take an exercise in six degrees of separation to connect the athletic departments at the power conference schools.
From 1977-82, Dr. Tom Davis coached the BC men’s basketball team, a charter member of the Big East Conference. Davis later won 270 games in 13 seasons with the Hawkeyes, and guided them to the Elite Eight of the 1987 NCAA Tournament.