Rutgers vs Notre Dame
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 28, 2013
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
By SportsDirect Inc.
NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL STORYLINES
1. It’s a long fall from the BCS National Championship game to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, but Notre Dame will take it after dropping two of its final three in the regular season. The Fighting Irish will meet Rutgers at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx on Dec. 28. The Scarlet Knights managed to salvage bowl eligibility in their final regular-season game, snapping a three-game slide with a 31-6 triumph over South Florida to even their record at 6-6.
2. Notre Dame challenged itself with another tough schedule and didn’t quite have enough to knock off teams like Oklahoma and Stanford this season. The most crushing defeat came at Pittsburgh on Nov. 9, when Tommy Rees threw a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions in a 28-21 loss that knocked the Irish out of BCS bowl contention.
3. Rutgers allowed an average of 40.3 points in a three-game losing streak before the defense stepped up against South Florida and secured the school’s eighth bowl bid in nine years. The Scarlet Knights are attempting to gain some momentum for the program as they head into the Big Ten next season.
TV: Noon ET, ESPN. LINE: Notre Dame -15.5
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (8-4): Rees took over at the beginning of the season when Everett Golson was dismissed and put up three straight 300-yard passing games to begin the season before hitting the mark only once in the last nine contests. Rees ended up completing 53.7 percent of his passes for 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions but will go into the bowl game without offensive coordinator Chuck Martin, who took over the head coaching job at Miami (Ohio). Notre Dame was at times carried by its defense, which also lost its leader when coordinator Bob Diaco was hired as the head coach of Connecticut.
ABOUT RUTGERS (6-6, 3-5 American Athletic Conference): The Scarlet Knights also saw a mass exodus on the coaching staff but in a less positive way, as head coach Kyle Flood let go of his defensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and offensive line coach after the disappointing regular season. The defense allowed a school-record 3,737 passing yards and surrendered an average of 29.8 points, prompting the dismissal of coordinator Dave Cohen. The offense fully committed to quarterback Chas Dodd the last two games and was rewarded with an efficient 19-for-24 effort for 179 yards and a pair of scores in the season-ending win.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 37, Rutgers 20