Date and Time: Saturday, December 28th, 2013, 12:00 pm on ESPN
Game Line: Notre Dame -14 (from JustBet)
Over/Under: 52.5
2013 Free Pinstripe Bowl Picks & Analysis: The #25 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Rutgers Scarlet Knights clash at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

Considering last year’s accomplishments, it’s been a somewhat disappointing year for Notre Dame. They come into Saturday’s contest losers of two out of their last three. They lost at Pittsburgh 28-21, won against BYU 23-13, and finished up their regular season losing at Stanford 27-20. They are led by quarterback Tommy Rees, who has passed for 2,938 yards and 27 touchdowns with a 138.1 quarterback rating. They average 149 yards rushing per game, and they have two capable running backs in Cam McDaniel (625 yds) and George Atkinson III (555 yds). Their main receiving threat is TJ Jones, who has tallied 1042 yards and 9 touchdowns on the season. Their defense is ranked 44th in the FBS, allowing 377 yards per game, and allowing 5.17 yards per play.

Rutgers had to beat South Florida to become bowl eligible, and did so with 31-6 victory. After starting out 4-1 the Scarlet Knights struggled, losing five of their next seven games including a lackluster effort against Connecticut, one of the worst teams in the American Athletic conference. Chas Dodd will most likely make his third straight start at quarterback for the Scarlet Knights since replacing Gary Nova. Dodd was efficient against South Florida, going 19 of 24 for 179 yards with two touchdowns. Paul James leads the Rutgers rushing attack, with 833 yards and 9 touchdowns this season, while averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Their defense has struggled most of the year, ranking 68th in the FBS allowing 406 yards per game.  Their rushing defense is actually outstanding allowing 94.6 yards per game (4th in FBS); it’s their secondary that’s the issue, allowing 311.4 yards per game.

Even though Rutgers ended the season struggling down the stretch, this is way too many points with Rutgers having almost three weeks to prepare. Notre Dame has their fair share of fans in the New York metropolitan area, but so does Rutgers.  I like the dog here, as most people think Rutgers doesn’t even belong in a bowl, and Notre Dame might be a tad disinterested not playing in a bigger postseason game. Notre Dame’s defense might be a tad off in this one, as their defensive coordinator Bob Diaco left the program to take the head coaching position. Notre Dame has had some nice wins this season, but I do notice that they have played to the level of their competition. Just when people count the Scarlet Knights out, they tend to rise up to the challenge. Notre Dame should win this game, but I like Rutgers to make it interesting.

2013 Free Pinstripe Bowl Picks: Rutgers +14 Under 52.5
Rutgers vs. Notre Dame Prediction: Notre Dame 27 Rutgers 20



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