Dec 26, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights running back Josh Hicks (8) rushes against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the 2014 Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
28. 2014 Quick Lane Bowl
Along the same lines of the Independence Bowl, this game was a disappointment, though the result was entirely more predictable. That is because the 6-6 Tar Heels had a terrible defense last year. This 6-6 team had many of the same moving parts as this year’s 11-2 team but the ability to stop no one’s run game and an offensive line that was a year younger than it is now.
Still there was a lot of hope that the Tar Heels could pull out a victory in Detroit. They were only one game removed from their complete domination of Duke to get bowl eligible, but then the team had their fun with paint at Duke and then got shelled by NC State the next week.
Rutgers ran for 340 yards and dominated the game at the line for the first three quarters. By then the game was out of reach at 40-7. Disturbingly it was not just the run defense that got handled, as quarterback Gary Nova found receivers open for three big passing touchdowns as the rush failed to pressure him. The MVP award was given to the ground game of running back Josh Hicks.
The game does not seem to have said much for the trajectories of both teams. Rutgers fired winning coach Kyle Flood the next year while Larry Fedora took the Tar Heels to the ACC Championship Game and a bigger contract extension.
The Rutgers loss did encourage Fedora to dump his defensive staff and scheme, replacing them with the Gene Chizik led 4-3 defense of this year.