Rutgers Edges Miami in Epic Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium
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The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are 2023 Bad Boy Mower Pinstripe Bowl champions after grinding out a 31-24 victory over the University of Miami (FL) at the hallowed halls of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, Thursday night.
In the home of the franchise synonymous with the M&M boys: Mantel and Maris, another star athlete whose last name just so happens to begin with the letter ‘M’ put his name in the pantheon of great performances in the Bronx: Kyle Monangai. Monangai earned MVP honors, rushing for 163 yards on 25 carries. It was the sixth-best rushing performance at the Pinstripe Bowl in its 13 years.
“I played a great game, but the guys in front played a better game. They set the tone from the first drive. Gavin played well, receivers blocked well on the perimeter and I just followed their lead.”
The victory was a historic one for Rutgers in more ways than one. Not only was the win the sixth bowl victory under Greg Schiano, it was the first victory for the program against Miami.
“I’ve been on the other end of those too many times,” Schiano said. “I was at Miami had a great experience there, it really shaped a lot of my philosophies. My wife and I were laughing, remembering that first one. We played them the second game of my tenure. (We lost) 61-0. It was a humbling experience. To get one against a storied program like the University of Miami feels good. Mario Christobal is building it the right way, that program will go through the roof. It was good to get a win against them.”
Rutgers did set the tone early.
Monangai gashed Miami for 44 yards on the opening drive of the game, including a 22-yard sprint on the game’s first play. The drive culminated in a one-yard plunge by Gavin Wimsatt to give RU a 7-0 lead.
Rutgers would tack onto that lead in the second quarter when the Scarlet Knights cashed in on an interception of Jacurri Brown at the Miami 36-yard line. Monangai would make Miami pay when he scored from seven yards out to make it 14-0.
By the third quarter Rutgers found itself in a battle. Miami stormed back to take a 17-14 lead midway through the quarter. Rutgers needed a big play and they got it when Trevor Yeboah-Kodie blocked the punt and Timmy Ward recovered it in the end zone for the touchdown.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s big for our program. I didn’t have to do anything at all, I was standing there and the ball popped out,” Ward said later.
The punt block changed the game.
Rutgers dominated the rest of the way.
Monangai put a bow on his MVP honors when he got a block and found a lane on the left side and dashed 40-yards to the goal line. It appeared he scored, but replay determined he was out of bounds at the one. Wimsatt finished off the drive with another one-yard plunge on the tush push to make it 28-17 RU.