Kyle Brindza's favorite athlete is New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. On Saturday, the Notre Dame kicker did his best to imitate the future Hall of Famer.
Brindza made five field goals, including two in the fourth quarter, to help Notre Dame defeat Rutgers, 29-16, in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in front of a record crowd of 47,122 at Yankee Stadium.
"Fourth quarter's what I love," Brindza said of the success he's had making pressure kicks. "The reason why I love Rivera is because he's a closer. That's what I like to think of myself."
Three times in the second half, head coach Brian Kelly handed the ball to his closer. And much like Rivera did time and again for the Yankees, Brindza did for the Fighting Irish.
"We have a saying on the team and that's, 'Count on me,'" the kicker said. "Coach Kelly said, 'Can you make this,' and I said, 'Count on me.'"(recap)
Prior to the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone sat in the press conference room at Yankee Stadium and told the assembled media why he felt the game was so important. "To the right of us here is the (George M.) Steinbrenner Trophy", the Bronx native said. "That's why both teams are here, and that's what we're playing for."
Marrone got his wish on Dec. 29, when his Syracuse Orange defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers, 38 - 14. Despite a winter storm, Syracuse piled up 369 yards on the ground en route to it's second New Era Pinstripe Bowl title in three years.
"You know, it's special," Marrone said. "Winning the second one, this has been a special place for all of us. It's always been a special place for me." (recap)
In 2011, a rock solid Rutgers defense and breakthrough performance by running back Jawan Jamison powered the Scarlet Knights to a 27-13 victory over Iowa State in head coach Greg Schiano's final game at Rutgers (recap).
When the New York Yankees began the planning stages for a new stadium they had a vision.
Not only would Yankee Stadium be the grandest stage in all of baseball, it would be home to a wide variety of special events, from concerts to boxing matches to football games.
The latter was established in memorable fashion on December 30, 2010 when the Syracuse Orange defeated the Kansas State Wildcats in the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl. It was the first college football bowl game held in New York City in nearly half a century, and the game's success set the bar for one of the most anticipated sporting events of the holiday season.
The inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl was held on Dec. 30, 2010, and ended in a thrilling 36-34 Syracuse victory that came down to the wire (recap).
2013: Zack Martin
University of Notre Dame, No. 70
Position: Offensive line
New Era Pinstripe Bowl Performance: Anchored a unit that churned out 175 rushing yards with no sacks allowed.
2012: Prince-Tyson Gulley
Syracuse University, No. 23
2011: Jawan Jamison
Rutgers University, No.23
2010: Delone Carter
Syracuse University, No. 3
Position: Running Back
New Era Pinstripe Bowl Performance: 198 yards rushing on 27 carries and 2 TD.
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