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College Football
Rutgers vs North Carolina
When: 4:30 PM ET, Friday, December 26, 2014
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan


1. Rutgers survived its first season in the Big Ten and took two of its last three games to earn its fourth straight postseason appearance at the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit. North Carolina did its own bit of scrambling with wins in four of the last six games to become bowl eligible for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. The Scarlet Knights and the Tar Heels did not make the postseason on the strength of their defenses and will be looking to outscore each other.

2. Rutgers surrendered an average of 40.2 points in its last six games but managed to get more than 40 points on offense in wins over Indiana and Maryland to go 2-4 over that stretch. The Scarlet Knights were down by 25 at Maryland before pulling off the largest comeback in school history in a 41-38 triumph. North Carolina’s 38.9 points allowed on the season placed it 116th out of 125 FBS teams in scoring defense, though the Tar Heels held each of their last three opponents to 35 points or fewer.

3. Gary Nova threw for 404 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Michigan on Oct. 4 but had five interceptions and three TDs while guiding the Scarlet Knights to four losses in five games. Nova found it again in the finale, going 28-of-42 for 347 yards and four TDs without an INT. North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams is coming off his worst performance – an 11-of-22 effort for 97 yards in a 35-7 season-ending loss to North Carolina State.

TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: North Carolina -3

ABOUT RUTGERS (7-5, 3-5 Big Ten): The Scarlet Knights allowed an average of 211.8 yards on the ground and surrendered 281 in the finale against Maryland after letting Michigan State roll up 242 in a 45-3 loss the previous game. Rutgers’ own rushing attack ranked 10th in the 14-team Big Ten and freshman Josh Hicks was getting majority of the reps in the last two games due to injury. Nova sat out the Pinstripe Bowl last season but started the Russell Athletic Bowl against Virginia Tech in 2012 and went 17-of-40 for 129 yards in a 13-10 overtime loss.

Williams takes care of both the rushing and the passing for the Tar Heels, leading the team with 20 passing TDs and 12 rushing scores. Williams scored at least one rushing TD in six straight games before the debacle against N.C. State and totaled eight TDs in the two previous games. The junior star left the finale with a leg injury but x-rays came back negative and he was moving around under his power later in the game and is expected to play in the bowl game.

PREDICTION: North Carolina 45, Rutgers 42
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Rutgers 7-5 W1 25.6 30.9 4-2 3-3 1-1 0-0 3-5
North Carolina 6-6 L1 34.2 38.9 4-2 2-4 6-6 0-0 4-4
Last Meeting
Rutgers North Carolina
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/10/11 RUTG 22 UNC 24 244 1 243 405 132 273
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Rutgers C. Dodd 53.2 243 2 0
North Carolina B. Renner 76.9 273 1 3
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Rutgers D. Williams 9 15 1.7 0
North Carolina G. Bernard 16 81 5.1 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Rutgers M. Sanu 13 119 9.2 1
North Carolina D. Jones 6 135 22.5 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Rutgers M. Sanu 1
North Carolina G. Bernard 2
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Rutgers G. Nova 58.0 2667 20 12
North Carolina M. Williams 62.7 2875 20 9
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Rutgers D. Peoples 115 447 3.9 3
North Carolina M. Williams 178 732 4.1 12
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Rutgers L. Carroo 53 1043 19.7 10
North Carolina R. Switzer 55 708 12.9 4
Touchdowns Player TD
Rutgers L. Carroo 10
North Carolina M. Williams 13
Quickchart Matchup
Rutgers Off vs  North Carolina Def
378.8 yards
495.9 yards
4 yards/rush
5 yards/rush
8.2 yards/attempt
8.5 yards/attempt
North Carolina Off vs  Rutgers Def
425.8 yards
439.5 yards
3.8 yards/rush
5.5 yards/rush
7.2 yards/attempt
7.7 yards/attempt