Exciting Atmosphere at the 2011 New Era Pinstripe Bowl

December 30, 2011 – At the start of the second half, Rutgers University is leading Iowa State University by a score of 17-6 in the 2011 New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

Rutgers came into the game with an 8-4 record including a victory against Army at Yankee Stadium in November. Iowa State entered the contest with a 6-6 record. Iowa State’s last win of the regular season came against Oklahoma State University, which posted an 11-1 record, and which will be playing in the Fiesta Bowl next week. That Oklahoma State team scored 59 or more points in five games this season, and were defeated in double overtime by the Cyclones of Iowa State.

Rutgers, which is located about an hour from Yankee Stadium, didn’t play as difficult of a schedule as Iowa State, but they did defeat Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Navy and Cincinnati earlier this season.

Needless to say, the play on the field is competitive. Meanwhile, the atmosphere in the stands is electric.

Rutgers’ fan base is well represented today. From my vantage point in the press box behind the end zone, the left-field bleachers are packed tightly with Rutgers followers (donning scarlet red) and about three quarters of the seats in the first two levels of the Stadium are also packed with Scarlet Knight fans.

The remaining seats in the first two decks of the Stadium, along with nearly all of the space in the right-field bleachers, are filled with Iowa State loyalists.

All in all, the Stadium atmosphere favors Rutgers, but it’s hard not to be impressed with the way Iowa State traveled to New York for this game.

Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers player who suffered spinal cord damage and two fractured vertebrae in a 2010 game and who is paralyzed from the neck down, was interviewed on the centerfield video board at the start of the third quarter.

In a touching moment, the entire crowd of 38,328 applauded each time LeGrand answered a question. I would be hard pressed to write much of what LeGrand said, because it was one of the loudest moments of the game — and that’s saying something considering that it’s been an energetic atmosphere since the kickoff.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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