The Rutgers Scarlet Knights looked like they might surprise some folks this season after a 5-1 start to the year, but going 2-4 in the final six games of the year was just enough to make them bowl eligible. The North Carolina Tar Heels had quite the opposite start to the season followed by a strong finish, leading to a 6-6 record.
Rutgers may not have the most electric offense in all of college football, but the Scarlet Knights do have one of the most successful quarterbacks in team history in Gary Nova. The senior quarterback had a pretty modest season, passing for 2,667 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while connecting with top wide out Leonte Carroo 53 times for 1,043 yards and 10 touchdowns. The next closest wide out, in terms of receptions, is sophomore Janarion Grant who has 25 receptions for 312 yards. Desmon Peoples leads the struggling run game with just 447 yards and three touchdowns as he is one of four running backs with over 300 yards rushing.
North Carolina seemed basically dead in the water after a 2-4 start to the year, but the strong quarterback play from Marquise Williams lifted this team to relevancy to round out the year. Williams has been solid this season for the Tar Heels, passing for 2,870 yards, 20 touchdowns and just nine interceptions while also leading the team in rushing with 737 yards and 12 scores. The junior quarterback’s favorite target has been Ryan Switzer who has caught a team-high 55 passes for 703 yards and four scores while Mack Hollins leads the team with eight receiving touchdowns to go along with 611 yards on 34 catches.
Defensively, Rutgers has struggled to stay afloat this season, ranking just 92nd in points and 97th in total yards surrendered per game. North Carolina has been even less impressive — if you can believe that’s possible — ranking 119th in points allowed and 118th in total yards allowed per game this season.
When: 4:30 p.m. EST on Friday, Dec. 26
Where: Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.
PREDICTION: North Carolina 41, Rutgers 31
Want to see North Carolina take on Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl? Check out ScoreBig for tickets.
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.