Notre Dame and Rutgers to Clash in Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium

Howard Goldin

Bronx, NY---The New Era Pinstripe Bowl has become institutionalized at Yankee Stadium. For the fourth straight year, the increasingly important Bowl game will be played at Yankee Stadium. Attendance at the contest has risen each year and the game on December 28 does not appear to be an exception. The kick-off is scheduled for noon so the game will be an interesting experience for families with children.

The teams were carefully selected for this year’s game. The two participating squads, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (8-4) and the Scarlett Knights of Rutgers (6-6) have very large followings in the New York metropolitan area, which should boost attendance above the 2012 crowd of 41,203.

The popularity of both teams was mentioned several times at a Yankee Stadium press conference on Tuesday. President of the New York Yankees Randy Levine stated, “Notre Dame is the most legendary football program in the United States and Rutgers adds local interest.”

Although the two teams were members of the Big East Conference, they have only played four times with Noire Dame winning all four contests.

Neither football team is unfamiliar with Yankee Stadium. Both began playing at the original Yankee Stadium in the 1920’s, the first decade of college football at the venue. Rutgers did not earn a win until their ninth contest, but were victorious in their last three games, including the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl over Iowa State, 27-13, in 2011.

The Fighting Irish have had much greater success in the stadium, compiling a 16-6-3 mark. Notre Dame was invited to participate in the first college football contest in the current stadium, defeating Army, 27-3, on November 20, 2010.

Coach Brian Kelly happily recalled the importance of that visit. “We were privileged to play in New York in 2010. The treatment our University received from the Steinbrenner family, the New York Yankees and the entire organization was unlike anything we’ve experienced in my tenure at Notre Dame.” He told reporters, “Christmas time in New York City is a reward for our football players.”

The scheduled match-up for December 28 almost did not come to fruition. A .500 record is needed to be eligible for participating in a Bowl game. Rutgers had a 5-6 mark going into their final game on Saturday, but defeated South Florida, 31-6 to qualify for the Pinstripe Bowl.

Rutgers head coach, Kyle Flood, a native of Bayside, Queens, explained what leading his team into Yankee Stadium meant to him, “It’s a dream come to me. I grew up in New York City and was a Yankees fan.”

A series of tours throughout the city will be scheduled for the student-athletes, staffs and guests of the two universities so they can fully experience the flavor of the holiday season in New York.