Rutgers drops Pinstripe Bowl 29-16 to Notre Dame
The plan for Rutgers seemed to be playing out well. Keep Notre
Dame out of the end zone, stay close heading into the fourth
quarter and make a few plays to steal a victory in the Pinstripe
The Scarlet Knights never did make those few plays.
Rutgers managed only 237 yards of offense and allowed far too
many long drives to the Fighting Irish, who pulled away in the
fourth quarter for a 29-16 victory Saturday.
”We thought we played good red zone defense and we could make
them kick a few field goals and attempt some field goals, maybe we
could block one and then win the game in the fourth quarter,”
Scarlet Knights coach Kyle Flood said. ”We were kind of poised to
Rutgers (6-7) heads to the Big Ten next year, leaving the
American Athletic Conference (the former Big East) behind for much
tougher competition. The Scarlet Knights will enter their new
league coming off their first losing season since 2010 and just the
second in the last nine years. Flood will need to show immediate
It’ll help if he can find a quarterback.
Senior Chas Dodd, who became the starter late in the season
because of Gary Nova’s struggles, finished with 156 yards passing
against Notre Dame, including a touchdown to star receiver Brandon
”What we saw with their defense was just what we knew we would
see,” Dodd said. ”We had a game plan ready to attack it. We just
weren’t able to because of our execution.”
Coleman is off to the NFL, having decided to skip his senior
”We gave our best effort. It may not look like it on the
scoreboard but this team gave our all and I want people to remember
Tommy Rees passed for 319 yards in his final college game and
Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals for Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish (9-4) finished their follow-up season to last
year’s run to the national championship game a long way from the
BCS against a two-touchdown underdog trying to avoid a losing
Notre Dame’s play was less than inspired – Kelly said about a
dozen players were fighting a flu bug – but the win prevented the
Irish from finishing with eight victories for the third time in his
”A good season that could have been a great season,” coach
Brian Kelly said.
Notre Dame’s TJ Jones scored on an 8-yard run in the first
quarter and Coleman answered with a 14-yard touchdown catch soon
after. Tarean Folston’s 3-yard touchdown run with 3:38 in the
fourth made it 26-16 and finally gave the Irish a comfortable
On the slick turf at Yankee Stadium, the Pinstripe Bowl turned
into a field-goal kicking contest. Brindza was 5 for 6. Kyle
Federico made 3 of 3 for the Scarlet Knights.
The Irish dominated in yards (494-237) and time of possession
(38:49) but bogged down in the red zone repeatedly.
Rees closed a college career packed with both memorable and
forgettable moments with a solid performance, going 27 for 47 with
”I loved the way we were able to stay calm and stay within our
offense and continue to kind of monotonously move the ball down the
field,” Rees said.
Notre Dame left tackle Zack Martin capped his excellent college
career by being named game MVP.
Twice Notre Dame put together double-digit play drives that
ended in short field goals for Brindza. A 15-play, 90-yard march
that started in the third quarter and ended in the fourth with
Brindza’s 25-yarder made it 19-13 Notre Dame with 12:46 left.
Brindza’s third field goal, a 26-yarder with 6:03 left in the
third quarter, gave Notre Dame a 16-13 lead – after the Irish
caught a break. Brindza had missed from 36 yards but Rutgers was
flagged for running into the kicker to give him a second, easier,
The teams played to a 13-13 tie in first half that wasn’t nearly
as crisp and pleasant and as the weather.
Brindza kicked a couple of field goals, one after an
interception by Kendall Moore at the Rutgers’ 22.
Federico made two field goals for Rutgers, one after the Scarlet
Knights recovered a muffed punt by Jones at the Notre Dame 21.
Jones atoned for the turnover with a touchdown run on a fly
sweep that gave Notre Dame a 10-3 lead in the first quarter.
Rutgers came right back to tie with Dodd going deep to Coleman
for 51 yards, and then finding him for a TD with 1:51 left in the