Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8-4 SU 8-4 ATS) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (6-6 SU 7-5 ATS) NCAAF Pinstripe Bowl, Yankee Stadium New York, NY, 3:20 PM ET Friday December 30, 2011 on ESPN/ESPN3
by Jason Green, Sports Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: RUTG -1.5/ISU +1.5
Over/Under Total: 44.5
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ISU scored one of the biggest upsets in the college football season when they beat then undefeated Oklahoma State to become bowl eligible, but then they lost their last 2 games of the season.
Rutgers had their 3-game winning streak snapped with their loss in their last game of the season, which cost them a shot at a BCS bowl game.
Rutgers is a slight 1.5-point betting favorite in this game, but while Iowa State was only a .500 team they played a much tougher schedule. They were 2-4 facing ranked teams while Rutgers lost to the only team this season they faced that was ranked in the top 25.
In their last games of the season Iowa State lost to Kansas State 30-23 and Rutgers lost to Connecticut 40-22.
Rutgers will have to rely on their 14th ranked defense and 46th ranked passing offense to win this game, as they have one of the weakest rushing offenses in the nation. QB Gary Nova leads the Scarlet Knights’ offense and his main target is first All Big East WR Mohamed Sanu. He had 109 receptions this season and the next leading WR is Brandon Coleman with only 16 receptions. However, Coleman averaged almost 30 yards per catch this season.
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Iowa State only ranks 73rd in the nation in pass defense, but their secondary is not as bad as their rankings show since they played so many great passing offenses in the Big 12. The Cyclones will not shut down Barnett, but he will not have a huge game.
Iowa State only ranks 110th in the nation in run defense, but don’t count on the Scarlet Knights to rack up a ton of rushing yards since their run offense only ranks 115th in the nation and they had negative rushing yards in the loss to Connecticut.
ISU QB Jared Barnett had a stellar game in the HUGE upset win over Oklahoma State, but failed to pass for over 160 yards in the last 2 Cyclones losses. He has a decent WR corps, but will struggle in this game facing Rutgers and their 11th ranked pass defense.
The one key match up in this game will be the Iowa State rushing offense going up against Rutgers and their 57th ranked run defense. RB James White and QB Barnett have combined to rush for 1,136 yards this season while Rutgers allowed UCONN to rush for 178 yards in the their last loss of the season. The Cyclones will be successful running the ball in this game and that will be the difference.
Iowa State does not have a great D, but they did come up with 24 turnovers this season while Rutgers lost the UCONN game because they coughed up the ball 6 times. Look for ISU and their swarming D to come up with a couple of turnovers in this game.
This season Iowa State had an O/U record of 5-7 and Rutgers had an O/U record of 3-9.
Rutgers is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games as a favorite, 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss, and they have an Under record of 7-2 in Scarlet Knights last 9 games.
Iowa State is 5-0 ATS in their last 6 games against a team with a winning record, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games, and they have an Under record of 5-1 in their last 6 games.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think the tough schedule the Cyclones played as well as their rushing offense will give the edge Iowa State needs in this bowl game. Rutgers was far from impressive this season and did not have any real big wins. Even though Rutgers will have a bit of a home field advantage since the University is in New Jersey, the Cyclones will come out and show they are a better team with a slight upset win over the Scarlet Knights.
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