The 2013 Pinstripe Bowl features two of the nation's most respected programs, as Rutgers (6-6) and Notre Dame (8-4) will compete at Yankee Stadium for the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl trophy on Saturday, Dec. 28.
Senior quarterback Chas Dodd led the Scarlet Knights to victory against South Florida on Dec. 7 to get Rutgers to the six-win threshold, thus qualifying for a bowl game.
After a brutal second half of the season in which Rutgers won just two of its final seven games, the Pinstripe Bowl offers the program a chance to finish the season on a high note.
Notre Dame's 8-4 season was extremely disappointing—especially after the Fighting Irish posted a perfect record before playing Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game just one season ago. Brian Kelly's team finished the regular season with a whimper, too, losing two of its last three games.
Here's a look at when and where you can catch the upcoming bowl game, along with injury reports for both teams, betting lines and a closer examination of the biggest key of the contest.
When: Saturday, Dec. 28, at Noon ET
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 52.5 points
- Spread: Notre Dame (-14)
Team Injury Reports (via USA Today)
|Eilar Hardy||S||Ques Sat - Suspension - Dec. 22|
|Malik Zaire||QB||Ques Sat - Illness - Dec. 22|
|Chris Watt||G||Out Sat - Knee - Dec. 22|
|Nick Martin||OL||Out for season - Knee - Nov. 25|
|Louis Nix III||DL||Out for season - Knee - Nov. 25|
|Greg Bryant||RB||Out indefinitely - Knee - Oct. 4|
|Tony Springmann||DL||Out for season - Knee - Aug. 23|
|Nicky Baratti||S||Out for season - Shoulder - Aug. 17|
|Doug Randolph||LB||Out for season - Shoulder - Aug. 17|
|Delon Stephenson||DB||Ques Sat - Ankle - Dec. 22|
|Sebastian Joseph||DL||Ques Sat - Ankle - Dec. 22|
|Al Page||DL||Ques Sat - Shoulder - Dec. 22|
|Kenneth Kirksey||DL||Ques Sat - Tricep - Dec. 22|
|John Tsimis||WR||Ques Sat - Lower Body - Dec. 22|
|Leonte Carroo||WR||Ques Sat - Upper Body - Dec. 22|
|Brandon Arcidiacono||OL||Ques Sat - Shoulder - Dec. 22|
|Vance Matthews||WR||Ques Sat - Back - Dec. 22|
|Bryant Gross-Armiento||DB||Out for season - Hamstring - Nov. 30|
|Jeffrey Gignac||WR||Out for season - Hamstring - Nov. 30|
|Lewis Toler||DB||Out for season - Arm - Nov. 12|
|Taylor Marini||TE||Out for season - Shoulder - Nov. 30|
|Jamil Pollard||DL||Out for season - Undisclosed - Sept. 30|
|Sam Bergen||FB||Out for season - Ankle - Nov. 30|
|Julian Pinnix-Odrick||DL||Out for season - Knee - Sept. 6|
|Myles Jackson||DE||Out for season - Shoulder - Sept. 9|
Will Tommy Rees Finish His Career in Style?
The Irish have featured a balanced offensive attack all year long with Tommy Rees at the helm, averaging 31.8 passing attempts and 33.1 rushing attempts per game.
However, Notre Dame will likely have a tough time finding running lanes against the No. 4-ranked Scarlet Knights run defense (94.6 yards per game).
This means Rees will likely need to win the game with his arm, which has been an iffy scenario for Notre Dame in 2013. During games in which Rees has attempted over 30 passes, the Fighting Irish are 3-3.
Rees should be able to have a field day against the porous secondary of the Scarlett Knights, however, which hasn't been strong this season, ranking just outside the top 100 in passing efficiency defense. Rutgers' defensive backs have allowed big plays on a regular basis, as pointed out by Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com:
On the other side there's the Rutgers secondary, which has been decimated by injuries this season and just generally been an abysmal unit. Rutgers' defensive pass efficiency of 148.57 ranks 104th in the country, and the Knights have given up 31 touchdown passes to only eight interceptions.
After finishing the season at 8-4, Rees addressed the disappointing season, via the official site of Notre Dame athletics:
Not good enough, obviously. Proud of the guys. Proud of my teammates, how they fought all year. But you don't come to Notre Dame to be 8-4. Everybody understands that. We're not going to make excuses. We're going to look for solutions going ahead. We only have one game left, we want to leave a good legacy.
You can be sure the senior quarterback will be focused for his final collegiate game. There's a huge opportunity for him to finish his career on a high note. If Rees does manage to have a big performance at Yankee Stadium, then Notre Dame will surely win.
Rutgers isn't going to come close to winning the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl.
Who you got?
The Fighting Irish have too much talent and depth across the board, and Rutgers' read-option offense, led by senior quarterback Dodd, won't be able to generate enough scoring to keep the game close.
Rees does have a penchant for throwing costly interceptions, but he's going to have a field day against the pitiful secondary of Rutgers.
Then there's this bit of history, courtesy of Knute Rockne:
Notre Dame will control the game from the opening whistle, winning easily.
Notre Dame wins, 35-17.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78