Notre Dame-Rutgers Pinstripe Bowl has a little Yankees-Red Sox flavor
BY LAMOND POPE Sun-Times Media December 10, 2013 10:56PM
Updated: December 10, 2013 11:17PM
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood grew up in New York rooting for the Yankees.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is from Massachusetts. And, as Flood said Tuesday, “there is a baseball team in Massachusetts that people in New York are not generally fond of.”
“I don’t know that there can be a better matchup here at the Pinstripe Bowl,” Flood said.
Flood and Kelly took part in a news conference at Yankee Stadium to promote the Pinstripe Bowl, which is Dec. 28.
Notre Dame (8-4) continues to familiarize itself with Rutgers (6-6).
“Many (Notre Dame players) have looked at their schedule,” Kelly said. “They hold a win over an SEC opponent in Arkansas. They played an incredible game earlier in the year against Fresno State. It’s an opponent that gets our players’ attention.”
Rutgers took Fresno State to overtime before falling 52-51 in the season opener on Aug. 29. Rutgers topped Arkansas 28-24 on Sept. 21.
But the team had a three-game losing streak – which included a 52-17 loss to Cincinnati and a 41-17 loss at Central Florida – heading into Saturday’s regular-season finale against South Florida. Rutgers beat the Bulls 31-6 to become bowl eligible.
“Our team was well aware of the finality that could have ensued had that game not gone the way that it did. I thought they performed like it,” Flood said. “We played our most complete game.
“Now we have something that we can build on through the bowl season, through the practice season, to take a young football team with 18 first- and second-year players playing a significant role and move them to the next level and come out and compete against Notre Dame.”
The teams have one common opponent this season, Temple. Notre Dame topped the Owls 28-6 in the Aug. 31 season opener. Rutgers beat Temple 23-20 on Nov. 2.
Kelly has experience facing Rutgers during his time at Cincinnati. His Bearcats went 3-0 against the Scarlet Knights.
“If we were playing Tampa Bay, we’d be a lot better suited. It’s a totally different football team. Greg Schiano was the coach there (Schiano now coaches the Buccaneers). Different structure offensively, different structure defensively. Different players,” Kelly said.
“… We really won’t gain any advantage from prior knowledge relative to our matchup in the past other than knowing Rutgers and knowing the way those kids play. They play hard.”