Iowa senior Akrum Wadley excited to play at Pinstripe Bowl

Wadley pumped to play close to home in New York

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Akrum Wadley was all smiles after the Hawkeyes were selected to play in the Pinstripe Bowl. 

The Iowa senior grew up in Newark, New Jersey -- just miles from New York City -- meaning it will be a homecoming at Yankee Stadium in his final game for the black-and-gold. 

"I'm gonna go around the locker room hustlin', you know, trying to see whose family not coming, 'cause this is big," Wadley said. "A lot of my family's gonna be there. My high school coach is gonna be there. Some guys I grew up with they are gonna be there to support. Just playing close to home, I never get that chance." 

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said Wadley's gameday crew could be even bigger than the running back imagines. 

"Wait until all his friends and new friends start calling him for tickets," Ferentz said. "You know, it's not always easy going home for ballgames. That's the next thing he's going to be challenged with, but I think for he and Ihmir (Smith-Marsette, also from Newark), it's got to be exciting and I'm sure their families are very, very excited. " 

Wadley's homecoming will be even more special if Iowa can win the game. The Hawkeyes have lost five consecutive bowl games dating back to 2010.
 
"We wanna end the season on a good note," Iowa junior linebacker Parker Hesse said. "That's an experience we've never had. We usually end the season with a sour taste in our mouth and we kind of want to right that this year."
 
Trying to reverse recent bowl history is a focus for the entire team, but make no mistake -- there's not a hawkeye that wants a victory more than Wadley.
 
"To go out with a win, you know, that's everything," Wadley said. "That's big time and that's us leaving the jersey in a better place. That's something we always talk about." 

The Hawkeyes' trip to the Big Apple on December 27 will be full of firsts -- none bigger than the first ever meeting between Boston College and Iowa on the gridiron. Another is that a lot of these players, including Wadley, will have their first chance to visit the new Yankee Stadium. 

For more Hawkeye football coverage, follow @AdamJRossow and @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter -- and now Facebook -- and Hawkeye Headquarters on OurQuadCities.com all season.


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