2023 Pinstripe Bowl - Rutgers - Kyle Monangai
Pinstripe Bowl MVP, Kyle Monangai gets a Gatorade bath after Rutgers' victory in the 2023 Pinstripe Bowl. (Photo by Shaquan Woody - JSN)

Oh What A Knight! Rutgers Hangs On To Beat Miami in Pinstripe Bowl

After almost 10 years of not (statistically) qualifying for a bowl game, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights took the field at Yankee Stadium to take on the University of Miami Hurricanes in the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl. Miami came into the game making their 45th bowl appearance with a record of 20-24, and the Scarlet Knights made their 12th with a 6-5 record. Mami came in as the home team but played without some of their key players entering the game, making Rutgers the betting favorites.

First Half

The Scarlet Knights received the opening kickoff, and we were underway in the Boogie Down Bronx. Big Ten rushing leader Kyle Monangai led the way as he has done all year. The junior running back carried the ball just six times on the opening drive but for 48 yards. After failing on the first two attempts, Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt snuck across the goal line to give the Scarlet Knights a 7-0 lead early in the game. 

Miami started their first drive at their own 15-yard line without their starting quarterback for most of the season. After converting on a third down, Mohamed Toure was able to get to Miami quarterback Jacurri Brown, forcing Miami to punt on their first drive of the game. The Scarlet Knights took over, and while they did put together a decent drive, Jay Patel couldn't connect on a 53-yard field goal, giving the Hurricanes great field position. 

The defense stepped up once again for the Scarlet Knights on an interception by Cam'Ron Stewart, giving Rutgers a short field to work with at Miami's 42-yard line. After a big completion to Christian Dremel putting the ball at the Miami 7-yard line, Monangai scampered into the end zone, giving the Scarlet Knights a 14-0 lead in the 2nd quarter.

The Hurricanes responded by putting together a long, methodical drive. After nine plays and 75 yards and converting on multiple third downs, Miami would score their first touchdown of the Pinstripe Bowl. The drive was capped off when Jacurri Brown did his best Aaron Judge impression, sliding into the end zone like Judge does into home plate and cutting the Rutgers lead to 14-7.

The Scarlet Knights offense would stall out again, giving Miami a chance with under a minute left to try and get some points on the board. Jacurri Brown and the offense were able to get down the field with some help from crucial Rutgers penalties. After a touchdown was called back, the Hurricanes tacked on a field goal, cutting the lead to 14-10 at the half.

Second Half

Miami received the opening kick to start the second half and picked up right where they left off—driving 69 yards in just eight plays. Brown hit a wide-open Xavier Restrepo for a 30-yard touchdown strike to put Miami up 17-14 only four and a half minutes into the third quarter. 

The Rutgers' offense stalled out on their first drive, and momentum was fully in Miami's favor. The defense came up with a huge stop on third down, sending the punt team out for the Hurricanes. Trevor Yeboah-Kodie shot through the Miami line and blocked the punt. The ball rolled into the end zone, and Timmy Ward covered it up for the Rutgers touchdown. Momentum was back on the Scarlet Knights side jumping back in front 21-17.

Both teams failed to get much going on the offensive end heading into the fourth quarter. Rutgers took over, trying to get a spark going. They turned to their leading rusher, and he did not disappoint. Monangai powered his way to a first down into Miami territory. He exploded for 40 yards down the sidelines a play later, nearly getting into the endzone. Wimsatt capped the drive off getting in on the "Scarlett Shove" from the one-yard line to put Rutgers up 28-17.

Miami needed to make something happen and was faced with a huge 4th-and-2 in their own territory, so decided to go for it. Rutgers' defense built a stone wall and stopped the Hurricanes in their tracks to turn the ball over on downs. Sammy Brown came in for Kyle Monangai and just kept powering the ball straight up the gut of the Miami defense. The offense took seven minutes off the clock before Patel tacked on a field goal to make it a 14-point game. 

The Hurricanes made it interesting after Brown rushed in for a score that cut the lead to 7. Miami then recovered the onside kick with 25 seconds left but was stopped on 4th-and-6 to end the game. 

It was victory formation for the Rutgers offense, and as Gavin Wimsatt dropped to a knee, chants of "R" and "U" rang throughout Yankee Stadium. Kyle Monangai was the MVP for the Scarlet Knights, rushing for 163 yards and a touchdown on the day. 

As confetti fell from the sky, Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano held the trophy high over his head, letting out a victorious yell! The journey was long, but this team kept chopping! Fans all around the Garden State are proud to be Scarlet Knights!