Bronx, NY - 3:20 p.m. Dec. 30, 2011 - (ESPN/ESPN3)
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights being in a bowl was no shock to us, unlike ESPN which projected that Rutgers would not make a bowl before the season. Rutgers contended for the Big East this year, but their season ending loss to Connecticut knocked them out of the running. Iowa State probably had higher visions than the Pinstripe Bowl when they defeated Oklahoma State in double overtime, but lost their last two games to fall to 6-6 on the year. Rutgers and Iowa State have never met in football.
Rutgers 8-4 (4-3)
Iowa State 6-6 (3-6)
Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano has not named his starter at quarterback for the game. We might see both Chas Dodd and Gary Nova in the game as a result. Running back Savon Huggins probably won't be able to go. In any event, Jawan Jamison will be the starter at that position. The rushing attack hasn't been potent for Rutgers this year but they could have a chance against Iowa State which has allowed more than double the rushing yards per game that the Scarlet Knights average on offense.
Iowa State did outlast the common opponent with Rutgers, Connecticut, this season while Rutgers was blown out by the Huskies. That game was just the third of the season for the Cyclones and Iowa State will be using a different quarterback than they had in that game. Jared Barnett completes about 50% of his passes and has thrown 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions this season. Barnett's mobility is also a factor (435 rush yards this season).
Rutgers defense stacks up with the best in the country in scoring defense (ranked 12th nationally). If the Cyclones can stop Rutgers rushing game, the Scarlet Knights' defense will have to be as good as it has been for most of the year to put Rutgers over the top. Iowa State probably needs the game to be a shootout to have a chance.
Prediction: Rutgers wins 28-17