NEW YORK – Notre Dame finished 2013 with a victory that was closer than it should have been.
The No. 25 Irish defeated Rutgers 29-16 in the Pinstripe Bowl on Saturday in Yankee Stadium as linebacker Dan Fox sealed the win with an interception on the Scarlet Knights' 36-yard line with 3:26 to play.
But the margin of victory was closer than expected with Notre Dame (9-4) finishing the game with a 494-229 advantage in yards over Rutgers (6-7).
The presence of Notre Dame and the regionally close Rutgers helped draw a record 47,122 to the fourth installment of the Pinstripe Bowl.
Irish quarterback Tommy Rees threw for 319 yards, and Notre Dame got rushing touchdowns from TJ Jones and Tarean Folston.
Irish kicker Kyle Brindza connected on field goals of 21, 38, 26, 25 and 49 yards.
Notre Dame had four interceptions, with linebacker Kendall Moore, cornerback KeiVarae Russell and safety Austin Collinsworth also picking off passes.
Rutgers quarterback Chas Dodd threw for 104 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions, and running back Justin Goodwin threw the other interception.
Notre Dame and Rutgers exchanged field goals at the start of the fourth as both teams wasted good touchdown changes.
The Irish got the ball to the Knights' 7 just more than a minute into the quarter but failed to score on three chances and settled for a 25-yard Brindza field goal.
Rutgers' Janarion Grant then returned the kickoff 44 yards to Notre Dame's 35, but the Knights could only get to the Irish's 23 and settled for a 47-yard Kyle Federico field goal after Dodd fell on second-and-13 for 7-yard loss and miss fired on his next pass attempt.
Federico's field goal cut Notre Dame's lead to 19-16 with 8:57 to play.
The Irish ended the touchdown drought on the next drive as Tarean Folston scored on a 3-yard run to take a 26-16 lead with 3:38 to play.
Brindza added another field goal from 49 yards out after Fox's interception.
For more on the game, read Sunday's Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m.