Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2014 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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DENIED Notre Dame used a strong second half to turn back upset-minded Rutgers and register a 29-16 win in the Pinstripe Bowl L BY ANDREW OWENS ike most of the 2013 football season, Notre Dame's 29-16 victory over Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl Dec. 28 at Yankee Stadium carried neither flash nor style — but the Irish did enough to complete a 9-4 season and send the senior class out on a winning note. The Irish dominated the Scarlet Knights in total yardage (494-236) and plays (90-55), but experienced difficulties finishing drives. Junior kicker Kyle Brindza converted five of six field goal attempts during a game in which Notre Dame never trailed. "A good year that could have been a great year," head coach Brian Kelly said after the game, reflecting on the recently completed season. "We had some really good victories, at home against USC. "It's not enough for us; 9-4 is a good year for Notre Dame, but it's not what we sign up for every year. We wanted a little bit more out of this year." After its first two drives, Notre Dame had outgained Rutgers 133-0 in total yards, but found itself up only 10- 3. The Irish drove 71 yards in 14 plays on the game's first drive, with nine different players touching the ball. The drive stalled inside the 10-yard line, and Notre Dame settled for a 21-yard field goal from Brindza. Following a three-and-out stop by the Irish defense, senior wide receiver TJ Jones muffed a punt return. The Scarlet Knights, who finished the season 6-7, recovered and settled for a field goal to tie the game. Jones atoned for his turnover on the ensuing drive with an eight-yard touchdown run, his second of the season and 11th total score of 2013. On the dive that secured the six points, he suffered a second-degree shoulder sprain on his right side. He briefly left the contest and received a cortisone shot at halftime, but managed to play most of his final game at Notre Dame. Rutgers tied the game at 13 midway through the second quarter, and neither team scored the remainder of the half. Rutgers nearly took the lead twice in the first half, but Irish sophomore cornerback KeiVarae Russell's efforts denied the Scarlet Knights. His interception at the Notre Dame 1-yard

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