Gary Nova gets to go out on a high note.
The senior quarterback threw for 184 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in the final game of his collegiate career. Despite a couple of near picks, Nova was masterful commanding the Rutgers offense one final time, and could have had an even better box score had his receivers not dropped some of his passes. Still, for those watching, it was a great send off for a player that has undoubtedly given his all for this program.
In a fitting scoring play for Nova and Andrew Turzilli, a Kansas transfer who had never been to a bowl game before, the two seniors connected on quite possibly the most beautiful play in the senior quarterback's storied career. On first and ten with eight minutes to go in the third quarter, Nova faked with play action to Josh Hicks. As he scanned the field, he launched a picture-perfect rainbow pass that landed softly in the endzone for Turzilli's first and only touchdown in a bowl game.
However, the story of the game was a pair of freshmen running backs. Once again, Josh Hicks and Robert Martin III left Rutgers fans salivating thinking of the future backfield. Both backs combined for 302 rushing yards, with Hicks gaining 202and scoring on a 21-yard scamper. Martin found the end zone twice on an eight-yard TD run and a 28-yarder. North Carolina had no answer for the Scarlet Knight rushing attack, as Rutgers piled up 340 total yards on the ground.
UNC QB Marquise Williams was kept in check, as he managed only 198 yards on 25 of 37 passing with 51 rushing yards. The Tar Heel offensive line simply couldn't handle the Rutgers defensive line, as Darius Hamilton, Kemoko Turay, and Kenneth Kirksey were in Williams' face all night. A good chunk of North Carolina's yards came late in the fourth when Williams wasn't even in the game. RU led 40-7 until 6:45 left in the fourth quarter until UNC scored on two quick drives, one from backup Mitch Trubisky after a successful onside kick recovery (one of two straight by UNC).
Overall, Rutgers just had a dominating effort at Ford Field, with the outcome of the game well in hand late in the fourth. It marks RU's eighth win of the season following the first-ever campaign in the B1G.