WHO: 8-4 Notre Dame vs. 6-6 Rutgers (AAC)
WHAT: New Era Pinstripe Bowl (4th Year)
WHERE: Yankee Stadium in New York, New York
WHEN: Dec. 28 at 12:00 p.m.
WHY: A year ago Notre Dame was preparing for the BCS championship game against Alabama in Miami. This is quite a different bowl season for the Irish, as Notre Dame is looking to cap off an 8-4 season with a win over Rutgers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The stakes, of course, are considerably lower this time around, but don’t expect head coach Brian Kelly to take it any less seriously. The Irish are also in a state of flux with assistant coaches leaving to take head coaching gigs elsewhere.
Rutgers has taken their lumps in their one and only season in the American this year. The Scarlet Knights clinched bowl eligibility in the final game of the season with a 31-6 victory over South Florida, which snapped a three-game losing streak that saw Rutgers score 17 points in each game and lose by double digits to put their postseason eligibility in doubt. Rutgers has struggled in turnover margin all season long as well, ranked 118th in the nation in turnover margin per game. Quarterback Gary Nova has been intercepted 14 times, but Chas Dodd will be the quarterback leading the offense in this one.
Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees will be the big name to watch in this one, as you just never really know what you are going to get out of him. Rees has been up and down all season long and is capable of looking done before coming out of nowhere with a late scoring drive before halftime to turn the momentum at the right time. Notre Dame’s defense though should have little trouble slowing down this Rutgers offense. Look for the Irish to attack early and bring plenty of pressure on Dodd while Rees and the offense find some opportunities to tack on points.
PREDICTION: Notre Dame 37, Rutgers 20