Rutgers takes down Miami in Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl

December 29th, 2023

Kyle Monangai ran for 163 yards to lead a dominant Rutgers rushing attack as the Scarlet Knights defeated the Miami Hurricanes, 31-24, to win the 2023 Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl in front of 35,314 fans at Yankee Stadium.

Rutgers received the opening kickoff and drove the ball down the field on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that took over eight minutes to take an early 7-0 lead. On the drive, Rutgers ran the ball 11 times, including the final rush by quarterback Gavin Wimsatt on a one-yard touchdown dive, his 10th rushing touchdown on the season. After Miami's first possession resulted in a punt, Rutgers continued to run the ball well as the Scarlet Knights racked up 82 rushing yards in the first quarter. The Hurricanes allowed 97.1 rushing yards per game, which was good for 10th in FBS.

"I mean, this offense, they run the ball hard. I think that was the big difference. These guys came and just kept running the ball. We just couldn't figure out what was going on," said Miami linebacker Francisco Mauigoa.

Miami got the message in the second quarter as they stopped Rutgers and forced the Scarlet Knights to attempt a 53-yard field goal. The kick from sophomore kicker Jai Patel was short, and the Hurricanes got the ball back with good field position on the 35-yard line. However, Miami could not capitalize as Jacurri Brown threw an interception on third down to Rutgers' linebacker Abram Wright to set Rutgers up in Miami territory.

After a tough 23-yard pass play from Wimsatt to Christian Dremel, the Scarlet Knights capped off the drive as the Big Ten's leading rusher, Monangai, ran it in for a seven-yard touchdown to put Rutgers up 14-0 with 7:37 left in the first half. On the ensuing possession, Miami drove the ball down into Rutgers' territory as the Scarlet Knights shot themselves in the foot with two significant penalties, including a roughing-the-passer call during the drive. Brown put the Hurricanes on the board with a seven-yard QB keeper as Miami made the score 14-7 with 3:19 left in the first half.

Rutgers' final drive of the first half resulted in a punt, and Miami took advantage as they went 73 yards in 45 seconds. A Xavier Restrepo touchdown was called back, but Andres Borregales converted a 35-yard field goal to cut the Miami deficit to 14-10 at the end of the first half.

Miami came out in the second half and took a page out of Rutgers' playbook as the Hurricanes went down the field, leaning on their rushing attack, for an eight-play, 69-yard drive. Brown finished the drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Restrepo to put Miami ahead 17-14.

"A slow start for us, but a real good second quarter, and a good start to the third quarter. The middle eight was really good," said Miami head coach Mario Cristobal. "The block punt was certainly a game-changer. Then found ourselves fighting our way back, but not enough at the end."

After Rutgers punted and pinned Miami deep in their territory, Miami was forced to punt. The kick by Dylan Joyce was blocked by Trevor Yeboah-Kodie and recovered in the end zone by Timmy Ward to put Rutgers back up, 21-17. The punt was the 70th blocked kick by Rutgers under head coach Greg Schiano in both of his stints as head coach. The score remained the same going into the fourth quarter.

"We certainly jumped out and grabbed the momentum early, but then it kind of was getting away from us, and we had an opportunity there with the block," said Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano. "Trevor Yeboah-Kodie is a classic example of chop, followed by Timmy Ward, who is even a more classic."

Rutgers got the ball, and Monangai continued his big day, running for 40 yards down to the Miami one-yard line. Wimsett picked up his second touchdown of the game after a push from his teammates into the end zone to extend the Scarlet Knight lead. Down 11 points, Miami moved to their 45-yard line and went for it on fourth-and-2, but Henry Parrish Jr. was brought down for a loss of two yards by Deion Jennings to give Rutgers (7-6) the ball back.

The Scarlet Knights had their own fourth down conversion opportunity on the ensuing drive as they converted on fourth-and-1 to keep their drive going and the clock moving in the fourth quarter. Patel's 35-yard field goal concluded a drive that went over seven minutes for Rutgers.

Brown scored his second rushing touchdown of the game with 27 seconds left in regulation to cut the Rutgers' lead to 31-24. After the Hurricanes recovered the onside kick, Miami could not convert on a fourth down to give Rutgers their second-ever win in the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl and their first-ever win over Miami in program history.

Monangai, named the game's MVP, ran for 163 yards on the ground, the sixth-most in Pinstripe Bowl history.

"It's a testament to the guys that I play with on offense," said Monangai after the game. "I think I played a great game, but I think the guys up front played an even better game honestly, and they set the tone from the first drive, receivers were blocking well in the perimeter, and I was able to follow their lead."

"He is special. Kyle, I think he had 160-something yards today," said Schiano. "But he just runs so hard. I mean, you can see it. And I love -- when he starts the games breaking tackles like that, you know he's on.
He's got it."

Deion Jennings led the Rutgers' defense with nine total tackles. Mohamed Toure was in the backfield early often as he finished with eight tackles (two for a loss) and a sack.

"I feel like the defense played very well," said Toure. "Finished our last game before this with a bad taste in our mouth, and we wanted to come out and play how we play. Play violent, play physical, and play fast, and that's exactly what we did."

For the Hurricanes, Brown finished with 238 total yards and three total touchdowns as the Hurricanes ended the season with a 7-6 record. Restrepo finished with 99 yards receiving, which put him over 1,000 yards receiving for the campaign. Francisco Mauigoa made 12 tackles for Miami.