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Rutgers to face Notre Dame in New Era Pinstripe Bowl

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be played at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx on December 28 at noon. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights representing the American Athletic Conference will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Rutgers was 6-6 SU on the season and 3-5 in conference play, while Notre Dame was 8-4 after going undefeated in the regular season a year ago, before losing to Alabama in the BCS Championship Game.

Notre Dame’s hopes of a BCS bowl were dashed after a loss in November to Pitt and a number of injuries to key players.

For Rutgers, Kyle Flood was close to losing his job when the regular season ended and on Sunday had to fire three assistants. That in itself is a huge disadvantage for the Scarlet Knights in preparing for this bowl game.

If Notre Dame hopes to win this matchup, the Irish will have to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The climate for this bowl should be cold weather with chances of inclement conditions including snow, sleet or rain. Similar to the game the Irish played at home against BYU where they used a tough ground game and a dominating offensive line to control the line of scrimmage and win the game.

In that game, the Irish ran the ball 47 times and threw the ball off play action, which proved to be successful.

Notre Dame must also win the battle on turnovers. This season turnovers hurt the Fighting Irish at their four losses.

In their wins, the Irish had a positive turnover ratio of 7. In their four losses, the Irish suffered this season they turned the ball over 10 times and had a combined turnover ratio of -7.

In Rutgers case, the Scarlet Knights need their catching staff to keep the players on the same page and together following the firing of three assistant coaches.

The Athletic Director for Rutgers Julie Hermann said the football program was still evolving and preparing for the move to the Big Ten and hopes that Coach Flood will guide them in the new conference as he did to a co-conference championship and two straight bowl appearances the past two seasons.

The Scarlet Knights will need strong play from Chas Dodd at quarterback or Gary Nova who Dodd replaced during the final two games of the season. Dodd was efficient in Rutgers win over USF.

Nova as times during the season looked brilliant in wins over SMU, Arkansas and Fresno State, but he has 14 picks and that cost him his starting job.

Notre Dame is heavily favored and rightly so as they are the more talented team. However, the Rutgers players could use their emotions from what has happened to the coaching staff to propel them to an upset.

However, they finished just 6-6 on the season and should not give the Irish much of a game.

Smart money will take Notre Dame and give the points, with the total leaning toward the UNDER.

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