Five things to think about following the Hawkeyes' 27-20 Pinstripe Bowl victory over Boston College
1. The good
It gets lost a bit in the eight-player rotation that Iowa has successfully used on its defensive front - a difference maker when you think back to how the Hawkeyes' front four was wearing down regularly late in games not that many seasons ago - but how good is Anthony Nelson?
Real good would be the correct answer.
Nelson demonstrated that again when Iowa needed it most against Boston College, getting to quarterback Darius Wade and forcing a fumble recovered by Parker Hesse which set up the Hawkeyes' game-winning touchdown drive.
The sophomore finished with six tackles against the Eagles, including sharing another sack with Hesse. He finishes the season with 9.5 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. Over two seasons, Nelson has totaled 17.5 tackles for a loss and 14 sacks.
2. The really good
Iowa didn't have a great night rushing the football, but Akrum Wadley did have a really good collegiate finale.
Wadley led Iowa in rushing, receiving, kick returns and fan support, giving a collection of nearly four dozen relatives -- many of whom had never seen him play at the collegiate level -- something to to remember.
The performance against Boston College illustrated why Wadley is one of the more unique backs to come through the Hawkeye program.
He leaves as one of four running backs in Iowa history to gain 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons.
His five-yard touchdown run against the Eagles lifted him into a share of second on the Hawkeyes' career touchdown list with Sedrick Shaw, one behind the all-time mark of 36 still held by Bettendorf's Tavian Banks.
Wadley collected 283 all-purpose yards against Boston College, including an Iowa-bowl record 171 yards on kickoff returns, to be named the game's most valuable player.
He finishes his career with 3,904 all-purpose yards, ninth on Iowa's all-time list and leaves fifth on the career rushing charts with 2,872 yards and in fourth on the Hawkeyes' career rushing touchdown list with 28.
His 88 yards helped Iowa collect 101 as a team, just enough to help the Hawkeyes hold true to form. Iowa finished 8-0 when rushing for 100 yards and 0-5 when it didn't.
Wadley's work had a lot to do with all that, thriving because of a personality and passion for the game that allowed him to deal with anything -- good and bad -- that came his way at the college level.
He'll be missed.
3. The best thing of all
Iowa's long national nightmare - perhaps a bit of stretch - has ended.
The Hawkeyes have won a bowl game.
After walking away frustrated five times over the last six seasons - 2012 and a 4-8 record was beyond frustration - Iowa ended a bowl drought.
Seniors will have fond memories of their final college game and underclassmen and coaches can sleep a bit easier following a decent 8-5 season.
Iowa did let some chances get away that would have improved that record, without question, but lessons learned from those setbacks and the successes provide a solid foundation for the Hawkeyes to build on in 2018.
The team won't have to dogged by questions about a bowl streak they didn't start, and their work can help position Iowa for a chance to begin a different type of postseason streak.
It all started with a tone-setting season-ending win on a frigid night in the Bronx.
4. The where was that earlier
Iowa's defense played two distinctly different halves of football against Boston College.
The Eagles ran 40 plays in the first half against the Hawkeyes, averaging gains of 7.02 yards every time they touched the football. That led Boston College to 281 yards of offense and a 17-10 halftime advantage.
After the break, Iowa limited the team from Chestnut Hill to 102 yards of offense, three points.
Coach Kirk Ferentz insisted there were only a couple of minor adjustments that made a difference, the biggest perhaps an attitude adjustment.
The Hawkeyes looked like and played like a different defensive team in the final two quarters, limiting Boston College to 30 snaps and a respectable from a defensive perspective 3.4 yards per play.
Some vocal halftime encouragement between teammates and from coaches seemed to light a fire under a defense which stepped up its game on a frigid night which impacted the ability of the Eagles' A.J. Dillon to plant his feet and put his power to work.
It was slippery under foot for both teams, one reason Ferentz suggested a halftime helping of humble pie might have impacted things to some degree.
"I was never a very good player, but one thing I have a lot of experience at is getting my ass kicked, so I've been through that several times professionally,'' Ferentz said. "And what you learn is that you just go back out and go back to work. You've got to turn the page and focus on what's in front of you, and I think that's what our team did at halftime.
"We were not playing our best football and they were playing very well but it was a one-score game at that point. Clearly, we had to change our tempo and demeanor a little bit and I think our guys just made up their minds to do that.''
And that, Ferentz accurately points out, extends beyond the confines of a football field.
"That's the good thing about sports, about life. As long as you're alive, you get to fight another day and fortunately our guys made up their minds to be a little more determined in the second half,'' Ferentz said.
5. The ugh in ugh-ly
The solution to Iowa's punting game may be a more productive offense.
Colten Rastetter's season-long struggles continued in the Hawkeyes' finale. He averaged 32.5 yards on six punts against Boston College.
Rastetter did place two punts inside the 20, as did quarterback Nate Stanley who dropped a 33-yard punt on the Eagles' four-yard line with just under five minutes remaining in the second quarter.
Ryan Gersonde, injured much of the season, remains an unknown commodity but given the significance of the punting game in terms of field position it's an area where the Hawkeyes need offseason help -- or significant improvement from returning players.