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2011 New Era Pinstripe Bowl Recap

Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Iowa State Cyclones - Rutgers 27, Iowa State 13

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights looked horrible in their last regular-season game of 2011, a blowout loss against a Connecticut team that failed to make a bowl game this season. Coach Greg Schiano had a full month in which to lift his team out of a funk and get his players to perform to their capabilities.

He obviously pushed the right buttons.

Rutgers survived an early flurry from the Iowa State Cyclones, withstanding a sluggish start in the first 10 minutes to drill its Big 12 opponent in the second Pinstripe Bowl, held at Yankee Stadium in New York. The win represents a welcome source of relief for the RU program and a needed bounce-back after the Scarlet Knights’ failure to win their first-ever Big East championship.

This game’s feel and flow were established in the first quarter. Iowa State gained a 6-0 lead, but the Cyclones should have been up by at least 10 points if not 14. ISU quarterback Jared Barnett missed wide open receivers on multiple occasions, preventing the Cyclones from scoring touchdowns. The pair of field goals gave coach Paul Rhoads’s team a slight edge, but the failure to land Rutgers on the canvas gave the Scarlet Knights the belief that they could make their way back on Friday afternoon.

Rutgers did indeed storm back... and then some. The Scarlet Knights landed the very haymakers Iowa State couldn’t deliver in the first 10 minutes of play. Rutgers scored 17 second-quarter points to wrest control of this clash from Iowa State. The Scarlet Knights blocked a field goal and did everything they could to make sure that their opponent entered the halftime locker room without any momentum or leverage. Rutgers hit three plays of 23 yards or more, and the Scarlet Knights consistently got the ball to receiver Mohamed Sanu, who registered six catches for 80 yards on the day. Sanu pried open the field for Rutgers in that decisive second quarter, turning the tide in the Bronx to an unmistakable degree. After establishing the short passing game with Sanu, Rutgers was then able to run the ball between the tackles and gash Iowa State’s vulnerable run defense for 176 yards.

Iowa State, down 20-6 in the fourth quarter, made one final comeback bid. The Cyclones gained ground when a 20-yard touchdown run by Jeff Woody sliced the Rutgers lead to 20-13 with exactly 10 minutes to go. However, Rutgers owned the final answer at Yankee Stadium. With the decisiveness that would have made Mariano Rivera proud, the Scarlet Knights closed the sale when quarterback Chas Dodd hit receiver Brandon Coleman on an 86-yard touchdown bomb with 5:47 to go. It was fitting that on an afternoon when Iowa State repeatedly failed to score touchdowns, Rutgers delivered the dagger not with its defense, but with an offense that was far more opportunistic.

By: Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer

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