Boston College is set to play in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, Dec. 27. The Eagles will take on the Big Ten’s Iowa Hawkeyes in the first ever matchup between the two teams.
“We look forward to continuing our season in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York City,” commented Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond. “The New Era Pinstripe Bowl provides an opportunity for our team to end the year with six wins in the last seven games for the first time since 1993, which would give us great momentum heading into next season.”
This will be BC's 16th bowl appearance in 19 years.
The Eagles are 14-11 overall in bowl games, most recently routing Maryland, 36-30, in the Quick Lane Bowl last season. BC hadn’t won a bowl game since 2007 before last year’s bowl game and notably fell in the 2014 Pinstripe Bowl to Penn State in a bitter 31-30 overtime loss.
The Eagles closed out the regular season 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the ACC, winning five of six games and beating Syracuse, 42-14, on Nov. 25.
BC’s roster boasts nine All-ACC picks, including ACC Rookie of the Year AJ Dillon. Dillon is the second-leading rusher among freshmen nationally and No. 15 overall with 1,432 yards and 13 touchdowns. The true freshmen has amassed 1,099 rushing yards over the last six games–the most of any player in the country.
Even with Dillon, BC will find a battle in a talented Iowa squad. Kirk Ferentz’s Hawkeyes went 7-5 this year (4-5 in Big Ten) with a blowout 55-24 win over Big Ten Champion, Ohio State, and close losses to Michigan State and Penn State. The Hawkeyes and Eagles have a similar playing style, with strong defenses and a heavily running-based offense.
Head coach Steve Addazio has taken the Eagles to four bowls in his five years, becoming the first head coach in BC history to do so.
“Am I excited? Yeah, I’m real excited. If you asked our kids where they wanted to be, they’d have said New York. There isn’t anything better than being in New York at that time. You’re talking about New York at Christmas time. I’m sure that stadium will be electric. It’s such a great fit for us. I’m always thinking about the Pinstripe Bowl,” said Addazio.
Addazio elaborated, “We’re proud to be representing Northeast football in the Power Five this year. The buzz about our football program nationally is the best I’ve ever seen it. The last time we went 8-5 was 25 years ago. This could be huge.”
On the Hawkeyes, Addazio stated, “We’re playing against an outstanding opponent. You’re talking about two great conferences. That’s a prideful, classy football program. Two hard-nosed, tough teams squaring off. In New York, in Yankee Stadium? People want to see that game.”
The gameplan? Fundamentals, according to Addazio. “It’s fundamental development and growth, at a certain point, like this Saturday we’ll have a little piece of Iowa. Then Monday, a little more Iowa. But at least a straight week of fundamentals. Short practices, never drudgery. Keep them as fresh as we can keep them. Practice is short but heavy on the fundamentals.”
Defensive Coordinator Jim Reid came to the Heights from Iowa, where he was the linebackers coach for three years from 2013-15 and helped the Hawkeyes go 12-0 in the regular season.
Addazio commented on Reid’s “insider information” on the opponent. “Jim Reid helps us, just by being Jim Reid. He gives great clarity, he has an unbelievable respect for (Iowa head coach) Kirk Ferentz and their program. He gives us hands on clarity for that. And certainly still has an understanding of personnel and guys. In the end he’s a BC Eagle and we’re going to rock and roll and play great football for them.”