Thursday, December 29, 2011
Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers vs. Iowa State
By Andrea Adelson
Rutgers (8-4) takes on Iowa State (6-6) in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Friday at 3:20 p.m. ET. Here is a quick preview:
WHO TO WATCH: All eyes are going to be on Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu, because this could be his last game in a Scarlet Knights uniform. Sanu had a record-breaking season, setting the school and Big East records with 109 receptions to rank No. 5 in the nation. He also ranked second in the Big East with 1,144 yards receiving and had seven touchdowns en route to first-team Big East honors. To truly understand how much of a go-to guy he has been for Rutgers, Quron Pratt is the second-leading receiver on the team with 31 catches. No matter how he does in this game, the big question is whether Sanu will leave school for the NFL draft. Sanu is not pegged as a first-round pick but could go anywhere in the second or third round, so it may be worth it for him to leave. He said he would not announce a decision until after the bowl game.
WHAT TO WATCH: Who starts at quarterback? If Greg Schiano already knows, he is keeping his lips sealed. Schiano says the world will find out when the game kicks off. Chas Dodd started the season before he was pulled in favor of true freshman Gary Nova. After Nova threw too many interceptions, Schiano went back to Dodd. But Dodd was pulled in the season finale against UConn. The truth is, neither quarterback has lit up the scoreboard this season. Nova has thrown for 1,533 yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions; Dodd has thrown for 1,398 yards with nine touchdowns to seven interceptions. Neither is completing more than 55 percent of his passes.
WHY TO WATCH: It's always fun to watch football in a baseball stadium, right? That novelty might not hold much with Rutgers and Big East fans who already have seen the Scarlet Knights play in Yankee Stadium. But there are a few streaks on the line here. Rutgers has won four straight bowl games and is 4-1 in the postseason under Schiano. A win would give Schiano his third nine-win season, and the seventh in school history.
PREDICTION: Rutgers 27, Iowa State 20. From my predictions post Monday: The key for Rutgers in all its wins this season has been simple -- create turnovers, limit mistakes and allow defense and special teams to carry the day. Schiano always gets his team up for bowl games, and Iowa State has dropped two games in a row since beating Oklahoma State.