Dec 7, 2013; Piscataway, NJ, USA; South Florida Bulls quarterback Mike White (14) is sacked by Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive end Marcus Thompson (48) in the second half at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame Football Opponent Preview: Rutgers Defense

Notre Dame Football

The Pinstripe Bowl is a far cry from the National Championship game, but that’s the result of an underachieving and injury riddled season.  For Rutgers, this is a chance to finish their season with a marquee win after earning a victory against South Florida to become bow eligible.

Rutgers finished 3-5 in the American Conference with their only conference wins coming against Southern Methodist, South Florida and Temple; who combined for a 7-17 record overall this season.  The Rutgers defense reflects the mediocrity the Scarlet Knights showed this season, giving up about 30ppg with a schedule that ranks 102nd in the nation.

Run Defense:

While the Irish haven’t blown anyone’s mind with their rushing attack, there is no doubt that the ability to run the ball is present. Rutgers is giving up about 133ypg on the ground, opposed to the 150ypg the Irish are racking up. At times throughout the season, the Irish offense struggled to get the running game in rhythm, but with the emergence of Cam McDaniel and freshman Tarean Folston at the end of the season, the Irish now have two backs that have proven they can carry the load. Don’t be surprised to see multiple Irish running backs explode for a long run on Saturday.

Pass Defense:

Against FBS opponents, the Scarlet Knights are giving up well over 300ypg through the air, which should play into the hands of Tommy Reese and the Irish offense. Brian Kelly’s “explosive” offense has only averaged about 250yds passing, but against a Rutgers secondary that has given up 31 passing touchdowns, Rees should finish his career with a big game.


The Irish receiving corps is dynamic and loaded with talent, look for Brian Kelly to stick to his tendencies and spread the Rutgers defense; using the passing game to setup the Irish runningbacks. When it’s all said and done, this is just a bad matchup for Rutgers. Their 6-6 record in a subpar conference and a schedule that isn’t even in the top 100 is a recipe for disaster. Look for the Irish to have their biggest offensive performance of the season.

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