The 2013 Fighting Irish will close out their season in perhaps fitting fashion: With hopes of a BCS Bowl gone, the Irish will play in the mecca of all sports arenas- Yankee Stadium.
Leading up to the decision of which bowl Notre Dame would be placed in- some players voiced their concern over ideal places where weather could be a concern- or desire.
Among those were TJ Jones and Zach Martin.
“Definitely not to play somewhere where it is snowing,” Jones said.
“Like most people, don’t want to play in the snow,” Martin said. “But if we play there, we’ll be happy for it.”
Neither will have to worry so much about snow this Saturday as the extended forecast is clear and 40 degress for the day.
To add some intrigue, former quarterback Everett Golson could possibly be on the field.
Of course, it won't be as an official member of the 2013 Irish, but it could come in the form of a spectator with on field credentials of sort.
Golson was readmitted to Notre Dame just within the last few weeks.
The game will also offer up some intrigue when it comes to players formally from the recruiting grounds of Rutgers-players that ended up playing for the Irish.
The Irish roster will feature five players from New Jersey. Among those- senior inside linebacker Carlo Calabrese, who offered up some insight as to the difficulties for teams on the east coast when it comes to recruiting with Notre Dame in your own front yard:
"Just my visit here is what pulled me here.Just seeing this school, this campus, the fans here – there was just no other place like it."
Rutgers suffers some of the same ills plaguing the Irish to some extent with coaching vacancies of their own.
But the biggest concern for the Knights will be the players on the opposite side of the field this Saturday.
One player of note that could have had some say on the field for Rutgers was runningback Savon Huggins. Huggins was a recruit Notre Dame went hard after, but since his arrival at Rutgers-his time has diminished. Paul James has supplanted the blue chip recruit and has performed well.
For the Scarlet Knights, their biggest concerns will come when Notre Dame has the ball considering how lackluster their defense played to end the season. They had success against a poor South Florida team, but prior- Rutgers gave up an average of 38 points in a 7 game stretch. Their 300 plus passing yards allowed per game is among the worst.
For the Irish it will be simple: Throw and throw some more.
Tommy Rees, who passed for 2,938 yards and 27 touchdowns with a 138.1 rating in 2013 should be able to hook up often with TJ Jones- 1,042 yards and nine touchdowns for 2013.
In their final game together- it could be a show much like the Air Force game where Rees had multiple touchdowns to several different wide outs. Both will look to go out in stirring fashion for different reasons: Jones will seek to elevate his draft stock and Rees will seek to stamp his somewhat tarnished career as a Fighting Irish quarterback.
And because this is a bowl game and projects possibilities for future players in 2014, look for a few freshman like Corey Robinson to see plenty of action.
Injuries on both sides of the ball have plagued the Irish for 2013 like no other team in college football.
No more than on defense.
On the year, Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix played with injuries. Danny Spond saw his career end early. Jarrett Grace was lost as was Tony Springman in spring.
Through it all, it provided some oppurtunities for others like Jarron Jones on the defensive front and linebacker Jaylon Smith. Both will play major roles in 2014 for Notre Dame with the expected losses of Nix and Tuitt to the NFL. Jones will likely fulfill the role of nose tackle in 2014.
Both will present problems for the Knights this Saturday as each have elevated their play throughout 2013.
Since bowl preperation began for the Irish-there have been no new injuries.Conor Hanratty is being prepared to move to center if necessary, with Mark Harrell playing guard.
The game will draw some 50,000 fans to the 'House That Ruth re-Built'.
College footballs legendary team playing in baseballs Taj Mahal again.
Notre Dame 40, Rutgers 14