NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The last time Notre Dame visited Yankee Stadium, quarterback Tommy Rees got Derek Jeter’s locker.
He’ll get another chance to visit the revered stadium before his career with the Fighting Irish is over. Notre Dame will face Rutgers in the Pinstripe Bowl there on Dec. 28.
“I remember walking into the stadium for the first time. Walking into the locker room and your jaw drops. It’s an incredible atmosphere,” the senior quarterback said. “Just to be where the Yankees are and that organization they have. It’s a special place to be.”
Rees’ first trip to the new Yankee Stadium was in 2010, when Notre Dame beat Army 27-3 during the regular season.
Notre Dame finished 8-4 this season, but had no bowl affiliation this year. The spot in the Pinstripe Bowl was open because the Big 12 did not have enough Bowl eligible teams.
Next season the Irish will be part of the Atlantic Coast Conference bowl lineup, which will include the Pinstripe Bowl.
“We’ve been well received there. The Pinstripe Bowl has been terrific to work with. They have done everything to make it a great event for our players,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “So I’m really pleased with how they have really initiated and have followed up with making this a great event for our players. I’m excited about the opportunity for our team.”
Rutgers, from the American Athletic Conference, went 6-6 this season and earned its eighth bowl bid in nine years with a 31-6 victory over South Florida on Saturday night. The Scarlet Knights move to the Big Ten next season.
“I’m so proud of this team and staff for earning this unprecedented opportunity for Rutgers University,” Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann said in a statement. “The chance to compete against Notre Dame in a potentially sold-out Yankee Stadium in our own backyard is unparalleled in our history. This is a critical chance to continue our preparation as we move to the prestigious Big Ten Conference.”
Rutgers also played in the Pinstripe Bowl in 2011, defeating Iowa State 27-13 for the George M. Steinbrenner Trophy.
Head coach Kyle Flood announced Sunday in a statement that Scarlet Knights defensive coordinator Dave Cohen, quarterbacks coach Rob Spence and offensive line coach Damian Wroblewski had been fired and won’t be with the team for the Pinstripe Bowl.
Special teams coach Joe Rossi will run the defense on an interim basis and offensive coordinator Ron Prince will handle quarterback coach duties.
It will be Rutgers’ third appearance at the current Yankee Stadium. The Scarlet Knights, whose campus in New Jersey is only 50 miles away, played nine times at the original Yankee Stadium.
The Irish also played at the old Yankee Stadium, including in 1928 against Army when coach Knute Rockne gave his famous “Win one for the Gipper speech.” No. 1 Army and No. 2 Notre Dame played the Game of the Century there in 1946 in a game that featured four Heisman Trophy winners and ended in a 0-0 tie.
“Yeah, being able to go to New York City during Christmas time and being able to do some cool things there and playing at Yankee Stadium is the attraction,” Rees said. “Sure, it might not be 75 and sunny during the game, but I kind of like playing in cold weather, so I’m cool with it.”
Rutgers lost to Virginia Tech, 13-10, in overtime in the Russell Athletic Bowl last season.
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