Quick Lane Bowl Recap: Rutgers Defeats North Carolina 40-21


It was supposed to be a high scoring shootout between two schools out to prove something. The Quick Lane Bowl was exactly that, but just for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8-5) and not the North Carolina Tar Heels, as the Big Ten school soundly defeated the ACC team in Detroit 40-21, and it wasn’t even that close.

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North Carolina (6-7) made the first mistake by deferring to the second half on the coin toss and allowed Rutgers to march downfield on the 1st drive in the game for a touchdown, Scarlet Knights 7-0 very quickly.

It didn’t get much better for the Tar Heels as they turned the ball over twice in the 1st half which led to Rutgers getting 10 points off of those giveaways. The score at halftime was 23-0 in favor of Rutgers and they were putting their defensive skill to the tune of holding back a Tar Heel team that averaged 39 points per game. North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams just couldn’t get anything going on the offensive side of the ball for the Tar Heels until the 10:39 mark of the 3rd quarter when he scampered in for a 1 yard TD.

But it would be too much to overcome as Rutgers extended their lead by scoring 17 unanswered points off the hot hand of quarterback Gary Nova, who passed for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rutgers also rushed the ball for maximum efficiency, averaging 8.1 yards per carry on the back of Josh Hicks, who rushed for 202 yards and 1 touchdown on 19 carries for a 10.6 yards per carry average. Robert Martin also contributed heavily with 100 yards on 19 carries and 2 touchdowns.

North Carolina did make it somewhat interesting in the 4th quarter at the 5 minute mark when Mitch Trubisky came in for Marquis Williams, bringing the offense downfield for a quick score and then the Tar Heels recovered the subsequent onside kick, bringing back an air of the Bahamas Bowl from a few days before. The score was 40-21, but they failed to convert and lost the ball on downs, effectively ending the North Carolina rally.

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