How often do we hear that penalties, turnovers, pressure on the quarterback, and special teams play win or lose football games?
Certainly that was the case at the second New Era Pinstripe Bowl held at Yankee Stadium in New York City, which was won by Rutgers 27-13 over Iowa State on a mild winter day in New York City.
Rutgers did not commit a turnover in the game while the Cyclones had three.
In the second quarter, RU's Wayne Warren and Khaseem Greene pressured Iowa State quarterback Jared Barnett, resulting in a sack and fumble picked up by Scott Vallone, who ran it back 13 yards to the Iowa State four. The Cyclones held Rutgers on downs and forced a field goal attempt made by RU senior kicker San San Te. That made the score 10-6 RU.
On the following kick-off, Iowa State's Jarvis West ran the length of the field for a touchdown, but the play was called back because of a blocking foul.
Later in the second quarter, Rutgers blocked a 44-yard field goal attempt by the Cyclones' Zach Guyer.
With the Scarlet Knights leading 17-6 in the third quarter, RU linebacker Steve Beauharnais intercepted a Steele Jantz pass, leading to another Rutgers field goal by Te. Then a last interception by with 2:39 left in the game ended Iowa States last drive attempt.
The game was played on a great weather day for late December in the New York area, with 50 degree temperatures at the kick-off. The favorable weather, an announced crowd of 38,328 fans, the bands and cheerleaders of each school created a holiday atmosphere.
A highlight of the game was the appearance of Rutgers senior Eric LeGrand, who was shown on the large center field scoreboard being interviewed. Eric received a paralyzing injury in 2010 when making a tackle against Army. He has been reported to be making continued progress in his recovery. His picture with his teammates during an October game was recently featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the "2010 Moment of the Year."
Overall it was a very enjoyable day of college football at Yankee Stadium. Hope you enjoy a few pictures of the day and post game comments.
George Steinbrenner the patriarch of the Yankees since the 1970s till his death in 2010, and the driving force behind the building of the new Yankee Stadium loved football almost as much as baseball. No surprise that the Yankees have developed a bowl game featuring representatives of the Big East and Big Twelve Conferences.
The game remembers the extraordinary legacy of both college and NFL games played at the old Yankee Stadium, with a youth playing field now located across the street.
Mild temperatures and sunny skies attracted many fans to buy tickets day of the game at the Stadium. Selling college football in New York City is a challenge with the lack of major programs in the City and the domination of the sports media by Jets and Giants coverage.
The football field was laid out from the baseball home plate area directly towards centerfield. In the old Yankee Stadium, the field ran along the left field line.
A problem at the Army-Rutgers game in November with grass placed on the baseball infield easily coming up in clumps from the players cleats was fixed by replacing the section with a stronger type of grass.
One of the great elements of college football are the marching bands. Here the Rutgers Scarlet Knight marching band performed in the pregame show.
Iowa State had opportunities to score in the first quarter but had generated just field goals. The Cyclones took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter on field goals of 46 and 41 yards from Zach Guyer.
Rutgers came into the game averaging 91.5 yards per game on the ground and 245 yards in the air.
On the ground, Rutgers was led by sophomore Jawan Jamison, who ran for 766 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.
The heralded receiver on the team is junior Mohamed Sanu, who caught 109 passes for 1,144 yards on the year and looks like a player with strong NFL potential.
Head coach Greg Schiano used a two quarterback system during the season, with both sophomore Chas Dodd and freshman Gary Nova throwing for over 1,300 yards and combining for 20 touchdowns in the air. Pregame discussion focused on who would start, how much practice time each had with the first team offense and if both would play in the game.
Chas Dodd ended up receiving the start.
In the second quarter, Rutgers conducted a 10-play, 74-yard drive culminating in a one-yard run by Jawan Jamison to give RU a 7-6 lead.
On the next possession, the RU defense caused an Iowa State fumble picked up by Scott Vallone, who ran it back to the Iowa State four. Rutgers tried on three downs to pass the ball in, but Chas Dodd was incomplete on three attempts.
A field goal attempt from 21 yards was made by RU senior kicker San San Te. That made the score 10-6 Rutgers.
Rutgers continued to move the ball in the second quarter.
The redshirt freshman from Starke, Florida, Jawan Jamison, scored his second touchdown of the day and quarter on a 12-yard run capping a 10-play, 66-yard drive.
San San Te completed the PAT kick to give Rutgers a 17-6 lead at the half.
Over two quarters, RU out gained State 192 to 141 and led on time of possession 16:26 to 11:19.
Over 400 members of the Iowa State Marching Band rode buses for twenty hours to arrive in New York to perform at the Pinstripe Bowl.
It must have been a great experience for the players, coaches, band, cheerleaders and over 5,000 fans who traveled into New York City for the week.
The players were entertained at a dinner at Yankee Stadium, a visit to pay respects at "Ground Zero," and a boat ride to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
For the players, just having the chance to use the locker rooms of the major league baseball players and playing on the famous field was a tremendous thrill and a lifetime memory.
The third quarter began with an exchange of five punts before an Rutgers interception led to San San Te's second field goal of the game.
On the day, Kirby Van Der Kamp punted four times for Rutgers, averaging 41.5 yards. His counterpart for Iowa State Justin Doerner averaged 49.7 yards a punt, including a 57-yarder.
When Eric LeGrand's cover photo in Sports Illustrated was projected on the Yankee Stadium big screen, the crowd provided a long ovation.
Eric was paralysed in a 2010 game against Army and is continuing his recovery. The picture depicts a late October game this season in which he joined his teammates to enter the Scarlet Knights home field.
The Stadium erupted from both sides when they saw Eric LeGrand on the Stadium scoreboard being interviewed from the press level.
The Rutgers Glee Club performed God Bless America before the start of the fourth quarter.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Rutgers held a 17-6 lead. Iowa State fought hard to get back in the game. They almost succeeded.
Iowa State head coach had brought junior Steele Jantz into the game during the second quarter, replacing the sophomore starter Jared Barnett.
Iowa State's Steele Jansen led a rally by the Cyclones based on a nine-play 74-yard drive.
The drive was kept alive on a Rutgers penalty on a 3rd and 24 play that resulted in an incomplete pass, Iowa State was awarded a first down and scored two plays later on a Jeff Woody 20-yard run.
The PAT kick by Zack Guyer made the score Rutgers 20 - Iowa State 13 with ten minutes remaining in the game.
Wiht just under six monutes left in the game, Iowa State punted to the Rutgers 14. It looked like Iowa State might be able to hold Rutgers on downs and get another chance to even up the game.
When in doubt on this day, Rutgers threw deep.
Chas Dodd threw fifty yards down the left side, hitting Brandon Coleman near midfield. Coleman did the rest, fighting off a tackler at the goal line. Rutgers moved ahead to a 27-13 lead.
With 2:39 left, Rutgers generated their third turnover of the day when Logan Ryan intercepted a Steele Jantz pass. That was the game.
The Rutgers players and coaches ran out onto the field to celebrate and shake the hands of the Iowa State Cyclones.
New York Yankee host Hal Steinbrenner presents the Pinstripe Bowl Trophy to the Scarlet Knights.
After the game, Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano complemented his senior class on winning their third bowl game in four years and the fifth-year seniors on their fourth bowl triumph.
In the post game press conference, Iowa State Coach Paul Rhodes offered appreciation to the hosts from the Yankees, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and New York City.
He complemented Rutgers saying, "The team that played the best football won the football game today."
About his own team, the coach said: "I don't think we blocked well enough. They got us back on our heels and forced the game and their pressure was better than our protection."
Still he thought his team had momentum and a good chance to win in the fourth quarter commenting, "Yeah, 20-13 and I thought the momentum was all ours and field position was good."
About the future goals of his program: "The program has come a long way...I think this is a very good season. As we move forward that's not going to be good enough. But finishing with a Bowl loss does not fulfill the expectations of our program, which is to win Bowl games."
Rutgers Coach Greg Schiano in post game press conference also expressed appreciation to the Yankees for what he described as,
"An awesome week for our players, our coaches, families, and our fans."
Coach Schiano talked about having two quarterbacks Chas Dodd and Gary Nova supporting each other as they each played in the game.
"When you look at the quarterback situation today, those two guys just coaching each other through it...they are just talking and helping each other and to me that's what team is about. That is what family is about."
After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Rutgers opened up their offense in the second. I asked the coach about this and he said,
"I think we want to establish the run for sure. I think some of those runs opened up the passing game as well."
Coach Schiano described how happy he was that Eric LeGrand was able to be on hand and celebrate the victory with his teamates. He said that playing the game in New York made it easier for Eric to attend and also for many of the families of the players.
Brandon Coleman is a redshirt freshman who plays like a seasoned veteran. He is 6'6" which allows him catch balls over the heads of many smaller defensive backs.
Brandon was thrilled to have made the game breaking 86-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
When one reporter asked him if the ball thrown was by quarterback Chas Dodd was under thrown, he said that is his job to make the adjustment and get to where the ball is thrown.
He described how excited he an his Rutgers teammates were to play at Yankee Stadium.
Brandon Coleman a young player with a bright future on a Rutgers team with more good days in its future.
Ken Kraetzer covers Iona basketball and West Point football for WVOX 1460 AM in New Rochelle, NY and Sons of the American Legion Radio. His Twitter address is SAL50NYRadio.
Quotes utilized were from the New Era Pinstripe Bowl postgame press conference prepared by the event staff.