Ten years ago, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights were just starting their ascent to respectability under Greg Schiano. Nine bowl games later, and the program is putting together arguably its strongest postseason effort in the program’s history.
Rutgers dominated the North Carolina Tar Heels 23-0 through two quarters of play in the Quick Lane Bowl.
After losing their past two bowl games, the Scarlet Knights are trying to add an exclamation point to their first season as a member of the Big Ten Conference.
Kyle Flood‘s squad built a lead by winning in the trenches and playing fundamentally sound football.
Rutgers established the run early, and the team’s pair of freshmen running backs, Robert Martin and Josh Hicks, combined for 124 yards on 20 carries.
“Any time your running game works, you’re making guys miss and breaking tackles.” Flood told ESPN as he headed to the locker room for halftime. “I think they’ve both done a good job.”
Overall, the Scarlet Knights gained 281 yards of total offense.
North Carolina, meanwhile, struggled to develop any consistency. The Tar Heels fumbled the ball twice. Once they were finally able to move the ball, kicker Thomas Moore missed a field goal attempt and another was blocked.
It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that North Carolina was finally able to move the ball successfully by stretching the field horizontally. The Tar Heels stayed away from the strength of Rutgers’ defense — its defensive line — and tested its athleticism on the edges.
If North Carolina is going to attempt a comeback, it will have to increase tempo on offense while continuing to get their play-makers in space. Rutgers simply needs to control the ball and the line of scrimmage like it did in the first half to finish the season 8-5 overall.