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December 30, 2011

College Football Report - 2011 Bowl Picks - New Era Pinstripe Bowl:

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Rutgers (8-4) vs. Iowa State (6-6)

V S.

3:20 PM, ESPN, Friday, Dec. 30, Bronx, NY

Why Watch: The second annual Pinstripe Bowl is played where the real pinstripe players play, Yankee Stadium. Anytime there’s a football game on an oddly shaped baseball diamond, it’s worth watching. Check out one of the nation’s best, and unknown, defenses as well, in Rutgers. The Cyclones boast one of the better linebacker duos in the country.

Who to Watch: The Scarlet Knights don’t put together a whole lot of offense, but when they do it comes from Sanu. Junior receiver Mohamed Sanu became a complete wideout for the Knights this season, bringing in 109 catches for 1,144 yards and seven scores. Sanu accounted for over a third of the Scarlet Knights offensive production this year. All-Big 12 Iowa State linebacker Jake Knott received all the attention heading into the season, but it was fellow All-Big 12 linebacker A.J. Klein who stole the show this season. Klein brought in 101 stops, with 7.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. The junior also returned an interception for a touchdown for the third time in his career.

How it’s Going Down: The Knights don’t like to let opponents to score on them; in fact, it appears to be personal. In seven games this season the Scarlet Knights have held opponents to 17 or fewer points. The problem is that one of those games was a loss, and two others were overtime victories. If not for a pair of three game win streaks out of the Cyclones, including one of the biggest upsets of the year in an overtime win over Oklahoma State, Iowa State would be sitting at home watching. The Cyclones made a mid season switch to freshman Jared Barnett at quarterback, but he was still only able to muster a 3-4 record. Facing a team that has picked off 17 passes and allowed just eight passing touchdowns on the season won’t be an easy situation to walk into for the freshman. Rutgers quarterbacks Gary Nova and Chas Dodd should both see time, and should give the defense just enough to pull out yet another close win in their backyard style of play. Pick: Rutgers 22 – Iowa State 17

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