Shamrock Stickers – Notre Dame vs. Rutgers

Keivarae Russell - Pinstripe Bowl
Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell (6) celebrates an interception against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the first half of the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit-Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Images

Notre Dame finished off it 2013 season with a 29-16 win over Rutgers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The Irish looked sluggish in the first half but found their way in the second half and began to dominate the game. The Irish controlled the battle in the trenches as a result of their size advantage and were balanced on offense. Many members of the Irish roster also had solid efforts in what will be their final team wearing the blue and gold. The following players led the Irish to victory versus the Scarlet Knights:

Zach Martin: Fifth-year senior and captain Zach Martin earned MVP honors in his final game at Notre Dame. The left tackle was absolutely dominant in run and pass blocking versus the Scarlet Knights. Martin was the catalyst for the Irish in the second half, setting the tone in what would be annihilation in the trenches. The Irish backs were able to run with ease behind Martin on the left side as he frequently drove lineman into the second level of the defense.

Kyle Brindza: Notre Dame kicker Kyle Brindza continued to be clutch in the victory versus Rutgers. Brindza was 5-6 on field goals ranging in distance from 21 to 49 yards. Brindza’s kicks were especially important as the Irish offense frequently sputtered in the red zone settling for his kicks instead of touchdowns.

KeiVarae Russell: Irish corner KeiVarae Russell thinks he can be the best corner in the nation and he showed flashes of that level of ability versus Rutgers. Russell found himself at a disadvantage matched up against the Scarlet Knights tall receivers but Russell won the majority of one-on-one matchups. Russell broke up three passes and also had an interception on the Irish goal line to go along with two tackles.

Stephon Tuitt: It what may be his last game at Notre Dame Stephon Tuitt came up a strong effort. Tuitt was a problem for the Rutgers offensive line the majority of the night and with the exception of a personal foul penalty played very well. Tuitt had a team-high one and a half sacks to go along with four tackles and was solid in run defense as well.

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  1. 10-2 would be awesome—
    I think we can go 11-1 or better.

    It’s a long way off, but where do you see the possible losses ( mind you, of course, the games still have to be played.)
    Mich. St. , USC and Fl. st will be good but we will not lose to all of them (anything can happen mind you–) just curious —

    Happy New Year.

    1. No Mich.St. next year. But we will see what our D’ front seven becomes and also still must prove we can beat an inferior Mich. team. N.Caro. looked better at season’s end, Louisville (esp. w/ Ted B. back) could be close, and Stanford, despite all their seniors leaving is always a challenge. Throw in @ Fla. St. and @ $C, and 10 wins could well be a hell of a success story. Other than ’12, we also always seem to lose one to a team we shouldn’t. I’d feel more confident if Tuitt returns, and if we escape all those devastating injuries this season.

    2. I also think 11-1 or even 12-0 could be possible next year. 10-2 would be what I would consider a bare minimum to consider next year successful, which based on their schedule should be enough to get them to a big name bowl (BCS equivalent). Stanford, Florida State and maybe USC could be challenges for next year. With the schedule, 2 losses is very possible. But yes, that means ND is going to have to win some of those big games next year, and they are going to have to beat all the teams they should beat.

  2. This bowl win really was hugely important for ND, esp. in the way of recruiting. They couldn’t afford to lose it.

    I give credit to the running backs as well, esp. the 2nd half when ND went smash mouth down the middle. It was actually fun watching those 2 break some good runs. Even Rees had a positive rushing effort. Both McDaniel and Folston did a good job running the ball, with a lot of help from Zach Martin of course. But the backs were good at finding the spaces as well.

    Rees did ok too. He threw some questionable passes that could have ended badly, but when he kept to throwing short passes, he did well.

    I am excited about next year. EG has added some bulk and I am impressed he has not been sitting back crying about being suspended or bailing for another team. He’s been working all year on improving. He’ll have to earn his spot back, but I really don’t think that will be a problem. With EG, the running backs, the wide receivers and tight ends, this offense should be much better next year. EG will give this offense what it lacked all this year. Other teams will have to respect EG’s running ability, and that will be huge. Not only his escapibility though, but his ability to run, reset and still make some good passes. Not many QB’s can do that.

    Defense will be an open question. Maybe we’ll see some hints at the Blue-Gold game. But if our offense plays as expected, a decent, if not great offense, should be enough to win most of the games next year.

    I gave BK a pass this year, largely because I’ve always believed the QB situation was insurmountable. We did not have the ideal QB for BK’s system (or any system). Rees puts up impressive numbers, but you have to consider the turnovers, esp. since they always seem to happen at the worse possible times.

    But next year, barring some huge unforseen circumstance, 10-2 should be very much achievable. BK should have all the pieces he needs next year, particularly on offense.

  3. Louis Nix not going to the bowl game and signing with an agent tells u everything u need to know about leadership. There wasn’t any. Louis is getting a pass.

    1. Wow, that’s mighty nice of you!

      Giving Big Lou a free pass and all.

      You know, you didn’t have to do that.

      I guess that’s why they call you St. Pat.

      I’m sure he really appreciates it…and I’m sure, deep down, he is really sorry for the ND loss.

      We’re so glad you were able to forgive him!

      1. Hey Shaz it’s not pop warner football. Feelings get hurt once in a while in major college football. Enough with the religious BS. St pat is right, no leadership there.

      2. U serious? Didn’t know my screen name meant that much. Some one must like having a little piece of Irish Chocolate 2 much.

      3. I agree with you St. Pat.
        If the agent wanted him to sign that badly, I believe an offer via that agent would STILL have been available AFTER the game with the folks from Rutgers. Sunday the 29th, Monday the 30th or even New Years Eve is STILL plenty of time to get that signing prior to the end of the year.
        ( This is why I don’t like the NFL nearly as much as College)
        Louis Nix could have stayed on for the game. Plenty of bowls still going on–plent of time for the draft folks, free agents and all to get their man for the factory we call the NFL.
        As for ND, I hope for a more competitive Irish next year with 1. good kick return teams and 2. coverage of the opponet on kickoff 3. an offense which has more dimension than this years offense. 4. Fix the soft corners on defense.

        Still with weaknesses, ND had a year of 9-4. Fix some things and get a REAL RUNNING GAME and ND is likely back in BCS.

        St. Pat–you were -and are right. End of story!

  4. agree heartedly with all four.

    Russell has moved up several notches since he arrived here in the summer of 2012. He is on the brink of greatness. One more year of Longo will not heart. He’s much stronger than he was 18 months ago.

    Brinda does not get enough credit for doing all he does. Tausch was expected to be the field goal kicker. But Brindza wound up punting, kicking off and field goals and extra points. Does anyone else in D-1 do all of those?

    Nice that the camera featured Martin dominating Hamilton, just after he more than held his own against Trent Murphy.

  5. Pierce,
    I owe you an apology for an article you wrote regarding leadership or rather lack of during the season. You called it right on and I took you to task. Hopefully we will not have the problem next year.

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