Quick LAne Bowl
It’s like the Big Ten/ACC Challenge all over again with the Quick LAne Bowl. This probably isn’t the bowl either of these teams wanted to be playing in, as lesser teams are playing in much warmer areas, but at least it’s indoors at Ford Field. North Carolina is a -3 point favorite against Rutgers.
The SCarlet Knights are just one of the 10 Big Ten teams that are underdogs in bowl Games this season. They started the season at 5-1 with wins over Washington State, Navy and Michigan, and their only loss being a 13-10 Game to Penn State. since that run, they’ve went 2-4 with big losses to the best teams in the conference, losing on average by 34 points in those Games. However, wins against Indiana and Maryland were somewhat positive, and both of those teams can be compared to North Carolina.
The Tar Heels have had a disappointing season finishing with six wins and they needed an upset over Duke to reach that final win. They’ve been incredibly up and down, beating SDSU 31-27, then losing to East Carolina 70-41, then they beat Virginia and Duke on the road, but lost to Miami (FL) and NC State in the following Games. Led by a high-powered offense, they can’t seem to keep momentum going due to a subpar defense. UNC has the better wins than Rutgers, and their 48-43 win over Georgia Tech hasn’t even been mentioned yet.
Because of both teams having bad defenses, expect this one to have plenty of points.
Rutgers has the less explosive offense, but as seen in wins over Indiana and Maryland, they can Scoreon weaker defenses, and that’s what UNC has. It seems like Gary Nova’s final college Game would never come, but here we are. Nova (20 TDs, 12 INTs) is actually having his best season efficiency-wise as a QB, averaging 8.69 yards per attempt. That was helped by a 347-yard, Four-TD performance in the season finale. He looks exclusively to receiver Leonte Carroo (1,043 yards, 10 TDs), who has had six 100-yard Games. Their running Game has taken a dip since Paul James got hurt, which has hurt the offense. Recently, they’ve been using Robert Martin and Josh Hicks in split duty out of the backfield.
The SCarlet Knights haven’t really stopped a good offense all year, but then again they have beaten every team that doesn’t have an above average defense.
Quarterback Marquise Williams was having a good season statistically, but had his worst Game of the season in the finale against NC State, and was eventually benched after an 11-for-22 performance and only 11 rushing yards. This is from a guy that has 20 TDs and 9 INTs through the air, and leads the team on the ground with 737 yards and 12 TDs. Rutgers is coming off a win (vs. Maryland) against a similar dual-threat QB in C.J. Brown.
The problem for UNC is that if Williams struggles, it will be hard for them to win. They don’t have much of a running Game outside of him as T.J. Logan is their top running back with 472 yards. The Tar Heels have a solid receiving core which has helped Williams though, led by Ryan Switzer, MACk Hollins and Quinshad Davis.
The Tar Heels have the nicer wins, but their inconsistency is a real problem as seen throughout the year. That’s why this spread is only three points.
The SCarlet Knights are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight bowl Games and 5-1 ATS in their last six non-Conference Games. The Tar Heels are 6-2 ATS in their last eight Games following a straight-up loss and 5-2 ATS in their last seven overall.
Another Game where we’ll stay away from the side here as we may be using it as a Key Release. So we’ll look to the total and we’ll simply go against the obvious, and the public, who are all over the OVER here to the tune of over 70%. Makes sense right? A couple of teams with sketchy defenses, NC’s being one of the worst in the nation, so over is the logical choice, right? UNDER 68