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
While the news of late has been littered with the exits of two SEC wide receivers, one team from the Big Ten is welcoming back a player who plays the same position.
In a press release, Rutgers confirmed that Leonte Carroo has been reinstated to the Scarlet Knights football program. The release stated that head coach Kyle Flood, who is suspended himself, “reinstated Carroo after the student-athlete agreed to the conditions of his reinstatement and after he accepted the responsibility that comes with his return to the team.”
The reinstatement comes one day after a domestic violence charge against him was dropped after the alleged victim decided not to testify against he former boyfriend. Carroo had been accused of slamming a woman with whom he had a previous relationship into the concrete outside of the RU football facility last month.
Carroo has missed the last two games (Penn State, Kansas) because of the suspension. He will be eligible to return to practice today and play in Saturday’s game against 10th-ranked Michigan State.
Despite missing those two contests, Carroo is still tops on the team in receiving yards with 181 and tied for the team lead with three receiving touchdowns. He’s also averaging nearly 26 yards per reception.
Carroo led the Scarlet Knights last season in receptions (55), receiving yards (1,086) and receiving touchdowns (10).
It’s been a bad week for talented SEC wide receivers.
On the heels of Auburn giving the boot to D’haquille Williams following an alleged bar rampage, Tennessee announced Wednesday that Pig Howard has been dismissed from Butch Jones‘ football program. Violations of unspecified team rules was the only explanation offered.
Howard had been suspended for the season opener for the same reason due to an unspecified incident several months before. It’s unknown if the dismissal is related in any way to that suspension.
Injuries had allowed the senior to play in just two games this season, against Oklahoma and Western Carolina. He had one reception for eight yards, with that coming in the overtime loss to the Sooners.
The past two seasons, Howard led the Vols in receiving with 54 and 44 receptions in 2014 and 2013, respectively. He accounted for 1,006 receiving yards in that span, and has also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns.