Where: New Yankee Stadium, New York, New York
PINSTRIPE BOWL STORYLINES:
1. Rutgers fell short in its bid for the Big East’s automatic BCS berth. Iowa State played a big role in the BCS in its own way, scoring one of the biggest upsets of the season when it knocked off then-No. 2 Oklahoma State in double overtime Nov. 18.
2. The Scarlet Knights came into the final weekend of the regular season with a share of the Big East title and a chance at a BCS bowl. But they committed six turnovers and fell behind by 30 points in the third quarter en route to a 40-22 setback against Connecticut.
3. Rutgers has been going back and forth between sophomore Chas Dodd and freshman Gary Nova at quarterback, with each struggling to claim the job outright. The two have the best security blanket in the Big East in receiver Mohamed Sanu, who set the conference record with 109 receptions and totaled seven touchdowns.
4. The Cyclones, who average 181.2 yards on the ground, will put their high-scoring attack up against the Scarlet Knights and their 12th-ranked scoring defense. Rutgers’ strength is in the secondary, where it is holding teams to 168.3 passing yards. Iowa State should have room to run.
TV: 3:20 p.m., ESPN, ESPN3.com. LINE: Rutgers -1.5
ABOUT IOWA STATE (6-6, 3-6 Big 12): The Cyclones went up against seven ranked teams during the regular season and knocked off two, claiming upsets at Texas Tech and in the shocker versus Oklahoma State. Iowa State also holds a win at Rutgers’ nemesis Connecticut from September and played strong at Kansas State in a 30-23 loss to end the regular season. Coach Paul Rhodes was given a 10-year contract extension but will be coaching his final game with offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who is taking a job under Urban Meyer at Ohio State.
ABOUT RUTGERS (8-4, 4-3 Big East): The Scarlet Knights’ vaunted defense was put in a tough position against Connecticut thanks to three combined interceptions by Dodd and Nova. Dodd also lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the second quarter. When the two play mistake-free football, the defense usually leaves Rutgers in a strong position. Dodd and Nova have each been getting practice reps and coach Greg Schiano won’t be afraid to pull either quarterback. The Scarlet Knights have recent experience playing at Yankee Stadium after beating Army 27-12 in the Bronx on Nov. 12.
PREDICTION: Iowa State 33, Rutgers 20 – The Cyclones are battle-tested from the Big 12 slate while the Scarlet Knights have yet to prove themselves against top competition. Click here to Place your College Football Bowl bets at Bovada Sportsbook