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            === Notre Dame takes down Rutgers in Pinstripe Bowl ===
 
 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 18:31:05 ET

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