Sunday, December 3, 2023

Pinstripe Bowl Matchup Set, With Rutgers Taking On The U


The scene at last year's Pinstripe Bowl between Syracuse and Minnesota. Photo by Jason Schott.

Rutgers and Miami are set to square off in the 2023 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, December 28 at 2:15 pm.

This is the 13th edition of the Pinstripe Bowl, and the ninth featuring teams from the Big Ten and ACC. 

Rutgers will be represe nting the Big Ten, and they clinched bowl eligibility on October 21 when they won at Indiana, 31-14. They had a 6-6 overall record, and were 3-6 in conference play.

This is their third time playing in the Pinstripe Bowl. Their first two appearances were while they were in the Big East Conference, and they beat over Iowa State, 27-13, in 2011, but fell to Notre Dame, 29-16, in 2013.

This is the Scarlet Knights' 12th all-time bowl appearance, and eighth under Head Coach Greg Schiano. During his first tenure as head coach, from 2001-11, Rutgers made six bowl game appearances over seven seasons from 2005 to 2011, and they won five of them (2006-09 and 2011). When he took over again in 2020, Schiano led them to the 2021 Gator Bowl, their most recent bowl appearance and first since 2014.

"We are thrilled about the opportunity to continue our season and play in the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl," Schiano said in a statement. "The bowl experience is a reward for the players. We are blessed with a chance to be together for the next month and to compete against an excellent opponent. Having played in the Pinstripe Bowl before, we know the Yankees do a tremendous job in making this a memorable time for our program. New York is a great place to be for the holidays and we look forward to seeing our fans at Yankee Stadium."

Rutgers featured a run-heavy offense this season, which resulted in them rankning fourth in the Big Ten in rushing attempts with 472, tied for third in rushing touchdowns (21), fourth in rushing yards per game (165.4), and fifth in rushing yards (1.985). Running back Kyle Monangai, a junior, led the Big Ren in rushing yards with 1,099. The Roseland, N.J., native who starred at Don Bosco Prep, ranked second in the Big Ten in attempts (217) and rushing yards per game (91.6), sixth in yards per attempt (5.1), and seventh in touchdowns (seven), which earned him All-Big Ten Second Team honors.

On defense, Rutgers is one of seven Big Ten teams ranked in the top-29 nationally in points allowed per game, as they surrendered just 21.0 points per game. Linebacker Deion Jennings, a senior, led the Scarlet Knights with 86 total tackles and 7.2 tackles per game.

Miami will be making its second appearance at the Pinstripe Bowl, as they were here in 2018, and fell to Wisconsin, 35-3. They are now the second ACC team to play in the Pinstripe Bowl multiple times, along with Boston College. 

It is the Hurricanes' 45th all-time bowl appearance, and 35th in the last 41 seasons, dating back to 1983. It is the first under Head Coach Mario Cristobal, who is in his second season at the helm. Cristobal was a standout offensive lineman for Miami's 1989 and 1991 national championship teams. 

Miami has a prolific offense, as they ranked second in the ACC in yards per game with 441.2, and third in points per game with 32.1. They also feature a top running back, Henry Parrish Jr., a fourth-year junior, who led the ACC with 6.5 yards per carry, and rushed for a team-leading 579 yards and six touchdowns this season. 

The Hurricanes also feature a dynamic wide receiver duo, with Xavier Restrepo and Jacolby George, who both earned All-ACC honors, with Restrepo on the First Team and George on the Third Team. Restrepo's 74 catches ranked second in the ACC, while he notched the second-most receiving yards in the conference, with 993. George racked up 851 yards, which was fourth in the ACC.

Cristobal said in a statement, "We are excited for the opportunity to compete against a great program like Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl, hosted by a championship organization in the New York Yankees. Our players have worked extremely hard for another chance to compete, and I know our players, coaches and our staff are looking forward to the opportunity."

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