Pinstripe Bowl halftime observations: Boston College 17, Iowa 10

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

NEW YORK — Iowa has made two big plays to stay within striking distance of a Boston College team that has been rolling up yardage with ease in the first half of Wednesday's Pinstripe Bowl.

The Eagles lead 17-10 despite outgaining the Hawkeyes 281-56.

Iowa safety Jake Gervase intercepted Boston College quarterback Darius Wade on the opening possession of the game and returned it to the 6-yard line. The Hawkeyes stalled there and settled for a 24-yard Miguel Recinos field goal.

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley is sacked by the Boston College defense during the 2017 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017.

After the Eagles scored a touchdown late in the first quarter, Iowa senior running back Akrum Wadley returned the ensuing kickoff 72 yards. That set up an 8-yard scoring pass from Hawkeyes quarterback Nate Stanley to tight end Noah Fant.

Otherwise, Boston College has dominated.

Here are the top takeaways from the first half:

EAGLES ARE SOARING: Boston College entered the game with a strong tendency toward rushing the football — 63 percent of the time. Quarterback Darius Wade's first pass attempt was intercepted by Iowa safety Jake Gervase. But the Eagles have kept attacking through the air and have found success. Wade is 10-for-14 for 127 yards and a 39-yard touchdown to Tom Sweeney.

IOWA WIDEOUTS NOT A FACTOR: The Hawkeyes are without freshman wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette and have barely used any other wideout, either. Smith-Marsette suffered a soft tissue injury during practices leading up to the Pinstripe Bowl. He had 18 catches and two touchdowns in the regular season. Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley has completed only four passes, just one to a wide receiver. That was a 9-yard connection with Matt VandeBerg. Stanley also has been sacked three times.

SLIPPERY SURFACE: Both teams are having trouble finding traction on the frozen Yankee Stadium grass. The most noticeable slip was when Wade was running near his sideline in pursuit of a third-down conversion and fell short while trying to elude Iowa middle linebacker Josey Jewell. 

DILLON PACKING A PUNCH: Boston College freshman running back AJ Dillon is showing why the Hawkeyes were so concerned about him. The 240-pounder has been rumbling through the Hawkeyes despite often appearing to lose his footing at the point of the handoff. He has 18 carries for 126 yards and a 4-yard touchdown. He plowed over Iowa freshman cornerback Matt Hankins on one run and set up the Eagles' field goal with a 66-yard jaunt on a third-and-1 carry.