As always, thanks to ESPN Stats & Info, and sports information departments, for these tidbits about the Irish vs. Rutgers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN).
According to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI) projections, Notre Dame has an 84.7 projected win percentage in this matchup. That ranks fourth-highest entering the bowl season.
Notre Dame is 4-0 all time against Rutgers and has outscored the Scarlet Knights 197-17 in those games (three were shutouts). They last met in 2002 (a 42-0 Notre Dame win). This isn’t the first time these teams will meet in New York City, either. In 1921, Notre Dame beat Rutgers 48-0 at the Polo Grounds.
Notre Dame is no stranger to playing in Yankee Stadium. The Irish are 16-6-3 there, though most of those games have come against Army (15-5-3). The Irish are 0-1 against Syracuse there and 1-0 against North Carolina there.
Notre Dame has lost its last two bowl games and is 2-11 in its last 13 bowl games. Rutgers has won five of its last six bowl games, but lost to Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl last season. One of those five wins came in the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl against Iowa State.
Notre Dame has four losses this season, but all four have come against bowl teams (Michigan, Oklahoma, Pitt, Stanford). The Irish have had seven games decided by seven points or fewer this season, winning five of them. On the other side, five of Rutgers’ six losses have come against bowl teams.
The Rutgers defense has been shredded this season, especially in the passing game, although the Scarlet Knights are coming off perhaps their best defensive effort in the win over USF. Rutgers has allowed at least 400 passing yards four times this season. That’s tied with Cal for the most in FBS. Notre Dame hasn’t passed for 400-plus yards in a game since Nov. 7, 2009 vs. Navy.
Rutgers is 0-5 this season against teams with a winning record. Its six wins have come against Norfolk State (3-9 in FCS), Eastern Michigan (2-10), Arkansas (3-9), SMU (5-7), Temple (2-10) and USF (2-10). That might present an opportunity for Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees to get back on track. Since a five-touchdown performance against Air Force, Rees has seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in the last four games.
Watch out for the turnover story in this game. Notre Dame has committed only 16 turnovers this season, but has forced only 13. Rutgers has been plagued by turnovers all season, committing 26. The Scarlet Knights ranked last in the American Athletic Conference with a negative-9 turnover margin.
This will be the last game for Rutgers before becoming an official member of the Big Ten entering next season.