Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Iowa St Cyclones Face Off in Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium

2011 New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Yankee Stadium – The Bronx, New York
Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs Iowa St Cyclones
Friday, December 30, 2011, 3:20 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Rutgers -2
Current Line: Rutgers -1
Opening Total: 44 1/2
Current Total: 44 1/2
Opening Money Line: Rutgers -130 / Iowa St +110
Current Money Line: Rutgers -115 / Iowa St -105

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are a slight favorite in the Pinstripe Bowl against Iowa St in Yankee Stadium.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights of the Big East are 8-4 this season under coach Greg Schiano. The Scarlet Knights take on the 6-6 Iowa St Cyclones of the Big 12, coached by Paul Rhoads in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl Friday in Yankee Stadium. Rutgers has losses at North Carolina 24-22, and Louisville 16-14, along with home losses to West Virginia 41-31, and a season ending loss at UConn 40-22 that cost the Knights a share of the Big East title. The Scarlet Knights have wins over Ohio 38-26, Syracuse 19-16 in double overtime, 34-10 against Pitt, Navy 21-20, South Florida 20-17 in overtime, Army 27-12 in this stadium, and Cincinnati 20-3. Rutgers is 4-2 all time in Bowl games, and has won 4 straight bowls, including a 45-24 win over Central Florida in the 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl. Rutgers had been to only one bowl game in history before Schiano took over the program in 2001.

Iowa St started off the season 3-0, but then lost 4 games in a row. The Cyclones then won 3 straight games, before losing their last two games of the season. Iowa St has wins over Iowa 44-41 in overtime, UConn 24-20, Texas Tech 41-7, Kansas 13-10, and Oklahoma St 37-31 in overtime. The Cyclones’ upset of then #2 Oklahoma St prevented the Cowboys from playing for the National title. The Cyclones have losses to Texas 37-14, Baylor 49-26, Missouri 52-17, Texas A&M 33-17, Oklahoma 26-6, and Kansas St 30-23. All losses came to teams that qualified for a bowl games this year. Iowa St is 3-7 all time in bowl games, and won the 2009 Insight Bowl against Minnesota 14-13. This is the first ever meeting between Iowa St and Rutgers.

Rutgers struggles to move the ball on offense. The Knights average 336.5 yards a game including just 91.5 rushing yards a game and 245 passing yards a game. Only 5 other teams in the country rush for less yards a game than Rutgers. Rutgers is scoring 26.3 points a game. The Scarlet Knights have 28 turnovers and have allowed 30 sacks. Rutgers is 89/205 on third and fourth down conversions, and 37/48 scoring in the red zone with 26 touchdowns. Rutgers is allowing just 311.5 yards a game including 143.7 rushing yards and 167.8 passing yards. The pass defense and overall defense are in the top 13 nationally. The Knights allow just 18.8 points a game, which is #12 in the country. Rutgers has forced 31 turnovers and 33 sacks this season. Knight opponents are 63/186 on third and fourth down conversions, and 27/39 scoring in the red zone with 18 touchdowns. Rutgers has 6 defensive/special teams touchdowns this year.

Chas Dodd and Gary Nova have split the snaps at quarterback for Rutgers. Nova is 113/220 passing (51.4% completions) for 1,533 yards, 11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Dodd is 129/228 passing (56.6% c0mpletions) for 1,398 yards, 9 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Jawan Jamison is the leading rusher with 204 carries, 766 yards, and 7 touchdowns, along with 7 catches for 59 yards. Savon Huggins  has 56 carries for 146 yards and has 5 rushing touchdowns for Rutgers. He missed the last 3 games for Rutgers with a knee injury and is doubtful with a knee injury. Jeremy Deering has 47 carries for 169 yards. He has a kickoff return for a touchdown. He is also doubtful Friday with an undisclosed injury. Expect fullback Joe Martinek and DeAntwan Williams to get more carries if Huggins and Deering can’t go. Receiver Mohamed Sanu has 109 catches, 1,144 yards, and 7 touchdowns. The versatile  Sanu also returns punts, and has a handful of carries and pass attempts for the Knights. Mark Harrison, Joe Martinek, Quron Pratt, and Tim Wright also get significant catches. Coleman only has 16 catches for 466 yards, but has 5 touchdown catches.  Kicker San San Te is 34/35 on extra points and 18/28 on field goals with a long of 50 yards. Rutgers has 7 defensive players listed as questionable, doubtful, or out.

Iowa St is averaging 392.8 yards a game including 211.7 passing yards and 181.2 rushing yards. The Cyclones are scoring 23.5 points a game. The Cyclones have 32 turnovers and have allowed 24 sacks. Iowa St is 102/235 on third and fourth down conversions, and 32/46 scoring in the red zone with 27 touchdowns. The Cyclones are allowing 432 yards including 194.8 rushing yards and 237.2 passing yards a game on defense. Iowa St is  allowing 29.6 points a game. The Cyclones overall and rush defense are among the worst in  the country, both ranking #99 out of 120 teams.  The Cyclones have forced 24 turnovers and 17 sacks. Iowa St opponents are 72/190 on third and fourth down conversions, and 42/52 scoring in the red zone with 25 touchdowns. The Cyclones average 7 penalties for 54.6 yards a game. Iowa St has one defensive touchdown this season.

ISU quarterback Jared Barnett took over as the quarterback after Steele Jantz was benched 7 games into the season. Barnett is 108/213 passing (50.7% completion) for 1,178 yards, with 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, along with 99 carries, 435 yards, and a touchdown. Jantz was 123/228 (53.9% completion) passing for 1,322 yards with 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions along with 78 carries, 180 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Running back James White has 150 carries, 701 yards, and 8 touchdowns, along with 21 catches for 165 yards and a touchdown. Jeff Woody has 86 carries, 360 yards, and 5 touchdowns, along with 4 catches for 30 yards. Shontrelle Johnson had 51 carries for 247 yards,and 5 catches for 40 yards. He is out for the season with a neck injury. Receiver Darius Reynolds has 41 catches, 655 yards, and 7 touchdowns. Josh Lenz has 35 catches, 438 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He also returns kicks and punts and has a touchdown pass in his only attempt of the year.  Aaron Horne has 33 catches, 385 yards and no touchdowns. Albert Gary has 21 catches, 267 yards and 2 touchdown. Darius Darks has only 20 catches, but has 3 touchdown catches.  Kicker Zach Guyer is 28/30 on extra points and 9/12 on field goals with a long of 43 yards. Grant Mahoney is 2-4 on extra points. He is 1-4 for the season on field goals with a 54 yard kick. Iowa St has 7 players out indefinitely or for the season including 4 skill position players, and two defensive players.

Iowa St is 7-5 ATS and the total is 5-7 this season. Rutgers is 8-4 ATS and the total is 3-9 this season. The Scarlet Knights are 4-0-1 ATS in bowl games, 3-0-1 as a bowl favorite, 5-1-2 in December games, 5-1-1 in neutral site games, including 4-1-1 as a favorite, and 1-4-1 after failing to cover. The Cyclones are 5-0 ATS against teams with winning records, and as an underdog, 5-1 overall, 6-2 in non-conference games, 5-2 on grass, and 1-4 as an underdog of 3 points or less.

Neither of these offenses are that great. The main difference is Rutgers has an elite defense and Iowa St has one of the worst defenses in the country on paper. However, Iowa St’s defense is underrated. In the Oklahoma St upset, the Cyclones forced 5 turnovers and held the high powered Cowboy offense to 24 points in regulation. The Cyclones gave up only 26 to Oklahoma and 30 to Kansas St, so ISU can play defense when they have to. I like the under in this game, as Rutgers isn’t nearly as strong on offense as those three teams.

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