Thursday, December 29, 2011
Pinstripe Bowl preview: Iowa State vs. Rutgers
By David Ubben
Time for another look at what to expect in a Big 12 bowl game.
Iowa State and Rutgers will kick it off Friday afternoon at 3:20 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium. You can watch on ESPN, or hurry up and fly up to NYC for the game. Your call. I'll write about it either way.
WHO TO WATCH: Iowa State linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein. They're among the best in the Big 12, and Klein was recognized by the league's coaches as the co-Defensive Player of the Year. Both topped 100 tackles this year and are the team's two top talents. Rutgers is a pretty balanced offense, but Knott and Klein have the ability to reduce the dual-quarterbacked Scarlet Knights a one-dimensional offense.
WHAT TO WATCH: Jared Barnett vs. Rutgers' defense. Iowa State's quarterback is only a redshirt freshman making his sixth career start, and he's been a little bit streaky. Twice this year, he's completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes, and he's never topped 60 percent in a game, but Iowa State is 3-0 when he tops 70 yards rushing. Keep an eye on what he's able to do with his legs.
WHY TO WATCH: I'm still not quite done with the novelty of playing a game in Yankee Stadium. Are you? I hope not. These are two pretty evenly matched teams, and last year's game was a classic, leading to one of the most memorable (and unfair) moments of the entire bowl season. We may have another classic on our hands here.
PREDICTION: Iowa State 24, Rutgers 21 -- Doubt Paul Rhoads' teams in bowl games at your own risk. They say the team that wants to be in bowl games the most wins them, and games like these are huge for the Cyclones. They'll be ready to go against a mediocre Rutgers team. It should be interesting to see what Jared Barnett looks like with a month to prepare, and I'm betting he looks pretty good.