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NCAA Game Summary - Rutgers vs. Notre Dame



(Saturday, December 28th)

Final Score: (25) Notre Dame 29, Rutgers 16

Bronx, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Tommy Rees threw for 319 yards and Kyle Brindza kicked five field goals to help 25th-ranked Notre Dame claim a 29-16 win over Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl from Yankee Stadium.

Three of Brindza's makes came during a second half in which the Fighting Irish outscored the Scarlet Knights by a 16-3 count to prevail and wrap up a mildly disappointing 2013 season on a good note.

Rees completed 27-of-47 passes in a turnover-free effort in the senior quarterback's final collegiate game.

"He just has the ability to pick up all the things we can do offensively and today was a case in point," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said of Rees. "We were able to do some things we haven't done in a couple of years and it looked like it was pretty easy for him."

Tarean Folston and T.J. Jones added rushing touchdowns for Notre Dame (9-4), with Cam McDaniel churning out 80 of the Irish's 175 yards on the ground on 17 carries.

Notre Dame also intercepted Chaz Dodd three times that contributed to Rutgers (6-7) losing for a sixth time in seven games following a 4-1 start.

Dodd finished just 10-of-28 for 156 yards with a touchdown pass to Brandon Coleman, who had 65 yards on a pair of catches.

The heavily favored Fighting Irish went into halftime tied at 13-13 against a game Rutgers squad, but dominated on both sides of the ball over the final two quarters to slowly pull away.

Notre Dame's offense set the tone with a mammoth 15-play, 71-yard drive that consumed nearly half of the third-quarter clock and was extended by McDaniel's 8-yard burst on 4th-and-1. The Irish nearly came up empty when Brindza pushed a 31-yard field goal try wide left, but a penalty for running into the kicker gave him a reprieve and he converted a 26-yard second chance to send Notre Dame ahead.

A 51-yard punt by the Knights' Nick Marsh pinned Notre Dame back to its own three on its next possession, but Rees led the Irish the length of the field to get his team back in scoring range. He hit Troy Niklas for a 26-yard gain on 3rd-and-9 to put the ball inside the Rutgers 10, though the offense again bogged down in the red zone and Brindza came on for his fourth make of the day, a 25-yarder for a 19-13 lead with 12:46 remaining.

"Late in the game there I gave it some thought to maybe just run some clock and go for it on fourth down, because I'm worried about getting a blocked kick there, get it returned and put them back in the game," said Kelly. "But [Brindza] is so good in the fourth quarter. Regardless of what the distance is, you've got to put [in] that guy. He's the best kicker. I've got to put him on the field, and he goes and kicks the field goal regardless of the conditions."

The Scarlet Knights' Janarion Grant then took the ensuing kickoff 44 yards across midfield, and a 10-yard run by Paul James positioned Rutgers for Kyle Federico's 47-yard field goal that cut the deficit to three.

Notre Dame countered with another long drive, a 10-play, 79-yard sequence highlighted by a 28-yard catch from Niklas and three big runs from Folston, who capped the trek by crossing the goal line from three yards out to put Rutgers in a 26-16 hole with 3:38 left.

Dan Fox then all but sealed the win by intercepting Dodd at the Knights' 36 on the next play from scrimmage, with Brindza tacking on a 26-yard field goal to account for the final score.

"We had opportunities in the second half that we just didn't capitalize on," said Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood. "We had two great kickoff returns by Janarion Grant, getting the ball at the plus 47, getting the ball at the plus 45, and only yield three points."

Notre Dame marched 71 yards in 14 plays to open the game, but the drive stalled inside the Rutgers five and resulted in Brindza's 21-yard field goal. Jones fumbled a punt at his own 21-yard line after the Scarlet Knights went three-and-out, however, with the miscue leading to a Federico 36-yard field goal that knotted the score at 3-3 midway through the first quarter.

Jones atoned for the giveaway by coming up with two big plays on the Fighting Irish's next touch, hauling in a 22-yard pass from Rees to give Notre Dame a 1st-and-goal and taking a handoff for an 8-yard score on the following snap to put his team back ahead.

Rutgers answered via the combination of Dodd and Coleman, who teamed up for a 51-yard deep pass and a 14-yard touchdown on a well-thrown ball by the Knights' quarterback to forge a 10-10 deadlock late in the first quarter.

Dodd was picked off by Kendall Moore deep in Rutgers territory early in the second, however, though the Scarlet Knights' defense forced two Rees incompletions that caused the Irish to settle for Brindza's 38-yard go-ahead field goal.

Rutgers again had a response on the ensuing series, putting together a 12- play, 63-yard jaunt highlighted by Dodd's 19-yard scramble on 3rd-and-10. The Irish twice stopped the Knights at the 1-yard line, though, and Flood opted for Federico to make an 18-yard field goal that drew Rutgers even once more.

The Scarlet Knights had a chance to go in front prior to halftime after getting down to the Notre Dame 20 with three minutes left, but running back Justin Goodwin's option pass was well underthrown and intercepted by Keivare Russell at the 1-yard line.

Game Notes

Notre Dame suspended running back George Atkinson, the team's second-leading rusher during the season, and reserve cornerback Jalen Brown prior to kickoff for violating team rules ... Brindza's five field goals matched a career high set against USC last season ... The Irish outgained Rutgers by a 494-236 margin in total yards ... The Scarlet Knights went 0-6 against bowl-eligible teams this season ... Coleman's TD catch was the 20th of his career, tying Tim Brown for the most in Rutgers history ... Notre Dame improved to 5-0 all-time against the Scarlet Knights, having outscored Rutgers by a 197-17 count in the four previous matchups.

12/28 18:30:29 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
Final
WAS 3
STL 4
Final
CLE 0
TOR 5
Final
DET 5
ANA 2
Final
BOS 4
BAL 2
Final
KAN 5
MIN 4
Final
CHC 8
CIN 4
Final
OAK 4
HOU 3
Final
PIT 7
MIL 8
Final
NYM 5
ATL 7
Final
TAM 16
NYY 1
Final
MIA 7
SEA 0
Final
TEX 6
CWS 3
Final
LOS 8
ARI 6
Final
COL 3
PHI 1
Final
SDP 3
SFG 1
1:05pm Today
CLE
TOR
 
1:08pm Today
DET
ANA
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
ATL
 
1:10pm Today
MIA
SEA
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
 
1:35pm Today
WAS
STL
 
1:40pm Today
TAM
NYY
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
MIN
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
3:05pm Today
TEX
CWS
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
 
4:10pm Today
LOS
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
COL
PHI
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
 
7:05pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
 
Final
TOR 87
BRK 94
Final
LAC 105
GSW 109
Final
IND 93
ATL 101
Final
OKC 100
MEM 86
1:00pm Today
SAN
DAL
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
Final
STL 4
CHI 3
Final
PIT 3
CLB 4
Final
COL 4
MIN 2
12:00pm Today
NYR
PHI
3:00pm Today
BOS
DET
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TAM
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
Final
NOR 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR