Rutgers cruised to a 40-21 win over North Carolina in the Quick Lane Bowl on Friday at Ford Field in Detroit, giving third-year head coach Kyle Flood his first bowl win. Let's take a glance at what happened:
How the game was won: Rutgers was dominant offensively and had a strong defensive effort for three quarters, jumping out to a 23-0 halftime lead and taking a commanding 40-7 lead at one point in the fourth quarter. North Carolina picked up a couple of late touchdowns and two late onside kick recoveries, but the performance of Rutgers' running game, offensive line and quarterback Gary Nova was too much to overcome for the Tar Heels. Rutgers piled up 524 offensive yards and controlled the game with a dominant performance from its offensive line.
Game balls go to: Plenty of deserving parties here. Freshman running back Josh Hicks finished the day with 202 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Rutgers offensive line paved the way for that with its stellar work as the Scarlet Knights racked up 340 rushing yards, the most Rutgers has posted in a bowl game. And let's not forget senior defensive back Lorenzo Waters, who recovered two first-half fumbles, blocked a field goal and finished with 14 tackles.
It was over when: Rutgers running back Robert Martin cut back and sprinted 28 yards for a touchdown to give the Scarlet Knights a 37-7 lead with 14:11 left in the game. It was a microcosm of the kind of day Rutgers had offensively and North Carolina had defensively and put the game well out of reach with almost a full quarter to go.
Stat of the game: Rutgers had plenty of success rushing the ball, perhaps best illustrated by this gem -- Hicks and Robert Martin (100 rushing yards) each reached the century mark in rushing yards, making it the first time in eight years that the Scarlet Knights have had two 100-yard rushers in the same game. The two who did it last time? Ray Rice and Brian Leonard vs. Syracuse on Nov. 25, 2006.
Best play: Moments after North Carolina scored its first points of the day to narrow a 23-0 lead to 23-7, Rutgers answered with a touchdown of its own. Quarterback Gary Nova launched a picturesque pass to Andrew Turzilli for a 34-yard score and a 30-7 lead. The pass hit Turzilli perfectly in stride after Nova sold a play-action fake and received great protection from his offensive line. Turzilli incurred a puzzling unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, despite simply tossing the football into the stands and chest bumping with a teammate. Nonetheless, the whole sequence was a thing of beauty.