December 2013

“It’s Great To Be In New York”

December 28, 2013 – With the exception of the last few minutes of the game, the second half of the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl was almost as evenly matched as the first half (see blog entry below on the first two quarters of the game).

In the early part of the third quarter, it appeared as if Notre Dame was going to take control of the game, but the Scarlet Knight’s defense held quarterback Tommy Reese and the Fighting Irish to two field goals. Trailing 19-13 mid-way through the fourth quarter, Rutgers kicker Kyle Federico brought the game within three points.

After the Rutgers field goal, Notre Dame did what their loyal following had been waiting for since the game began. Reese guided the Fighting Irish on a 79-yard drive, which took 5 minutes and 12 seconds off the clock and resulted in a three-yard touchdown run by running back Tarean Folston. The touchdown gave Notre Dame a 26-16 lead, and Rutgers had just over three minutes to make up the deficit.

Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza capped the scoring with a 49-yard field goal, and in the end, Notre Dame enhanced their legacy in of winning big games in New York City.

My favorite moment of the day came when Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly accepted the George M. Steinbrenner Trophy moments after the game ended.

“It’s great to be in New York,” Kelly said from the 50-yard line.

–Alfred Santasiere III


Notre Dame and Rutgers Meet In 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl

December 28, 2013 — The tradition continues.

The 4th annual New Era Pinstripe Bowl is underway on a perfect day for football in the Northeast, and the game features two teams with strong ties to New York City.

Under a clear blue sky at Yankee Stadium, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University are taking on the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Notre Dame, which is one year removed from the National Championship, has strong ties to both the old Yankee Stadium and the Yankees current home.

Beginning in 1923, Yankee Stadium was one of the nation’s foremost venues for college football games. Some of the most historic games were played at the House That Ruth Built, and Notre Dame was the centerpiece of that tradition for five decades. My feature story on the complete history of college football at the old ballpark in the Bronx can be found on pages of the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl Official Game Program, which is on sale at today’s game and can be purchased by calling (800) GO-YANKS.

Notre Dame also played in the first football game at the current Yankee Stadium, as well. In 2010, the Fighting Irish renewed their rivalry with Army, capturing a win in the 50th matchup between the two storied institutions.

In addition to the geographic proximity between Rutgers University and the South Bronx, the Scarlet Knights have also made some history at the current Stadium. Former Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano, who is currently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, hoisted the 2011 George M. Steinbrenner Trophy after his team defeated Iowa State University in the second Pinstripe Bowl game. The Scarlet Knights defeated Army in a regular season game at Yankee Stadium a few weeks before the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl.

The official program also features game stories from each of the two teams’ games this season. Notre Dame, which compiled an 8-4 record, came into today’s game heavily favored over Rutgers, which racked up a 6-6 record. But in front of a sea of fans decked out in scarlet red, Rutgers has certainly played a spirited first half in the chilly air. The Fighting Irish and the Scarlet Knights players went to their respective locker rooms with the game tied at 13.

If the first half of the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl is any indication of what the rest of the day will bring, this game might just go down as yet another thriller on the Yankees home turf.

–Alfred Santasiere III