Three keys: Notre Dame vs. Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl

Three keys: Notre Dame vs. Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl
December 27, 2013, 8:45 pm
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1. Generate big plays. Rutgers' pass defense is awful, ranking fourth-worst among FBS teams in average yards per game (311.4 yards). No team has allowed more passing plays of 10 or more yards than Rutgers, so not only should Tommy Rees have plenty of success throwing, but that success should come in big chunks. That being said, if Rees can't generate those big-chunk passing plays, it'd be a big break for Rutgers and would significantly help the Scarlet Knights' upset bid.

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2. Establish the run. Rutgers actually has a pretty solid run defense on paper, ranking fourth among FBS teams with an average of 94.6 yards per game allowed. That's the one positive for this defense, though if Notre Dame can negate it things should go downhill pretty quickly for the Scarlet Knights. Freshman Tarean Folston will start, and if he (along with George Atkinson and Cam McDaniel) can make a mark in the final game of the season it'll open things up even more for Rees and the Irish offense.

3. Be motivated. Statistically speaking, Rutgers doesn't have much of a chance in this game. But if Notre Dame goes into Yankee Stadium on Saturday without a lot of drive, Rutgers could sneak up on them and be competitive. It happened with Purdue, by far the worst team Notre Dame played this year -- and one that took the Irish to the wire in West Lafayette. Rutgers isn't as bad as Purdue, but if Notre Dame's effort level isn't good, the result may not be, either. 

Prediction: Notre Dame 34, Rutgers 16