Sunday, December 08, 2013

Rutgers to face Notre Dame in New Era Pinstripe Bowl

BRONX, NY - Rutgers University today accepted an invitation to play in the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, December 28.

The Scarlet Knights will face off against the University of Notre Dame, with kickoff expected to be at noon. 

Led by second-year head coach and 2012 BIG EAST Coach of the Year Kyle Flood, the Scarlet Knights (6-6) responded to a season-opening loss by winning their next four games, including a 55-52 triple-overtime victory at SMU on October 5. Running back Paul James (nine touchdowns) and wide receiver Leonte Carroo (nine touchdown receptions) each helped lead the Rutgers offense. Linebacker Steve Longa led all freshmen nationally with 111 tackles.

For the Scarlet Knights, it will mark the second time that the school has played in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. In 2011, Rutgers took home the George M. Steinbrenner Trophy, defeating Iowa State, 27-13, in a victory dedicated to Eric LeGrand, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a game against Army in 2010.

“I'm so proud of this team and staff for earning this unprecedented opportunity for Rutgers University,” said Rutgers Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Julie Hermann. “The chance to compete against Notre Dame in a potentially sold-out Yankee Stadium in our own backyard is unparalleled in our history. This is a critical chance to continue our preparation as we move to the prestigious Big Ten Conference.”

This will be Rutgers’ third appearance at the current Yankee Stadium, after the Scarlet Knights also defeated the Army Black Knights, 27-12, on November 12, 2011 in their first game in the Bronx since 1948. Rutgers, whose main campus in Piscataway, N.J., is located less than 50 miles away from Yankee Stadium, also played nine times at the original Yankee Stadium – all against New York University – going 1-7-1. This will mark the ninth time that the school has played in a bowl game, having tallied a 5-1 record in their previous six appearances since 2006.

“This year’s Pinstripe Bowl matchup is truly special as it features two outstanding schools, in Rutgers and Notre Dame, with a great history of playing college football in Yankee Stadium,” said Mark Holtzman, Executive Director of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. “We are confident that each team will only add to their respective legacies in the Bronx in what I am sure will prove to be a memorable experience for all involved during this holiday season.”

Led by head coach Brian Kelly, Notre Dame finished the regular season with an 8-4 record and has combined to amass a 20-5 record over its last two seasons of play. Notable wins this year included a 17-13 victory over Michigan State on September 21, and a 14-10 win over USC on October 19. Wide receiver T.J. Jones led the offense with a team-high 1,042 receiving yards, including 9 touchdown receptions. Linebacker Dan Fox led the defense with a team-high 90 tackles.

Kelly owns a 36-15 (.706) overall record in his four years with the Irish, one of only two head coaches in school history to win eight or more games in each of their first four seasons (also Dan Devine).

For the Irish, it will mark the second time that the school has played at the current Yankee Stadium. On November 20, 2010, Notre Dame defeated Army, 27-3, in the first football game ever played at the venue. Heisman Trophy winners Johnny Lujack and Pete Dawkins served as honorary captains in what was the 50th all-time meeting between the two teams.

“Quite simply, we are thrilled to bring our football program to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl,” said Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. “We were privileged to play in New York City and Yankee Stadium in 2010. The treatment our University received from the Steinbrenner family, the New York Yankees and the entire organization was unlike anything we’ve experienced in my tenure at Notre Dame.”

Notre Dame holds an all-time mark of 16-6-3 in Yankee Stadium games. In the 1940s alone, while playing at the original Yankee Stadium, Notre Dame claimed consensus national titles in 1943, ’46, ’47 and ’49.  In that same decade of the 1940s, the Irish produced three Heisman Trophy winners in Angelo Bertelli (1943), Lujack (1947) and Leon Hart (1949).

The original Yankee Stadium also played host to the 1928 Notre Dame-Army matchup which resulted in a 12-6 Irish victory.  The game was scoreless at halftime, when Notre Dame head coach Knute Rockne gave his now-famous “win one for the Gipper” speech in the locker room.

“We are thrilled to welcome Notre Dame and its student-athletes, alumni and devoted fan base back to New York City and Yankee Stadium to play in the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl,” said Mark Holtzman, Executive Director of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. “No two organizations in the history of American sport are more closely intertwined with such a rich and wonderful history as the New York Yankees and Notre Dame.”

Established in 2010, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has featured some of the most memorable moments of bowl seasons in just three short years, including the exciting finish in the inaugural 2010 game in which Kansas State missed a game-tying two-point conversion in the final minute. The 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl, which saw Syracuse defeat West Virginia 38-14, included a record-setting 213-yard rushing performance by the Orange’s Prince-Tyson Gulley.

Last year’s game also featured six 2013 NFL draft picks, including each of the game’s starting quarterbacks – Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib (Giants) and West Virginia’s Geno Smith (Jets).

Additionally, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has seen increased attendance in each of its first three years of existence, including a record 41,203 in 2012. This year’s game will be nationally televised by ESPN, which has also secured national and local radio rights for ESPN Radio.

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