Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Akrum Wadley has worn many hats as a member of the University of Iowa football team. The latest is a quasi-ticket manager leading up to the 2017 New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
Wadley, who has run, caught, and returned the ball during his career with the Hawkeyes, will return to where it all began for his final collegiate game, visiting Yankee Stadium for the first time when Iowa faces Boston College on Dec. 27 in the Bronx.
“I am trying to get 40-50 tickets,” said Wadley. “I am asking everyone. There is a lot of fussing going around. People are calling and messaging me and telling me to put their names down. The more I get, the more everybody will be happy.”
It could be a storybook ending for Wadley, getting an opportunity to play in the Big Apple in his final game as a Hawkeye. Yankee Stadium is a stone’s throw in New York terms — 20-30 minutes without traffic, up to an hour in traffic — from Wadley’s home in Newark, New Jersey.
“It’s going to be big,” he said. “I get to play in front of my family, including aunts and uncles that are too scared to get on a plane to fly (to Iowa to watch me). Most importantly, my daughter will be at the game. For me to play my last game in front of her means everything.”
It will be Wadley’s second collegiate game in the tri-state area. He rushed for 84 yards on 12 carries at Rutgers in 2016. Wadley’s fourth-quarter 26-yard touchdown run was the difference in Iowa’s 14-7 victory.
“I have to top that,” said Wadley. “I didn’t have the best game, but I finished strong and we got the W.”
The finish strong mantra has been at the core of the Iowa senior class’s message in 2017. The group wants to end their careers with a bowl win, something that has eluded the Hawkeyes since 2010.
“I want to win,” said Wadley. “I haven’t won a bowl game, none of us have since I have been here. It’s about leaving the jersey in a better place. A win would keep the ball rolling and give (the team) momentum for next year.”
Wadley says the team’s focus has been sharp and practices have been crisp leading up to the matchup with Boston College.
“We have been working hard and concentrating on winning,” he said. “I am not saying we didn’t do that in previous years, but there are not a lot of distractions.
“We usually leave (for the bowl site early) and we are there for a while, but we’re only going to be there three days in advance. It feels like a regular-season game — it is a business trip. It’s going to be fun being in New York, but it isn’t fun losing in New York.
“Boston College is a scrappy team, they’re physical, and we’re physical. It’s going to be a good game.”
Tickets are available to the 2017 New Era Pinstripe Bowl by visiting Iowa’s Athletic Ticket Office at www.hawkeyesports.com/tickets. The game will be televised on ESPN at 4:15 p.m. (CT) on Dec. 27 with Kevin Negandhi, Mack Brown, Booker McFarland, and Jen Lada on the call.