DETROIT, MI (Tell Us Det) – On December 26 Rutgers, the oldest college football team in America, will meet the North Carolina Tar Heels, for the very first Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit.
In an effort to have a home field effect, Rutgers is offering free bowl tickets to all undergraduate students at the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus. The first 200 students that claim a ticket online will receive free admission to a pre-game that will take place inside Ford Field starting at 2 p.m.
New to the Big Ten this season, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights finished with a 7-5 record during the regular season, with one of the victories over a less than stellar Michigan 26-24 at the Big House. North Carolina which squeaked out a (6-6) record and knocking off Orange Bowl-bound Georgia Tech, makes its second straight bowl appearance.
The Tar Heels are fairly similar to the Scarlet Knights: good offense, terrible defense. UNC’s lowest points allowed all season came during the second-to-last week of the season against a ranked Duke team, and the Blue Devils aren’t exactly the highest scoring team in college football. Still, UNC definitely has the better wins on the resume with victories over Duke and a Georgia Tech team that almost stole the ACC title away from Florida State. The Quick Lane Bowl will be close, but it’s fair to give the Heels a slight edge based on those wins alone.
The Quick Lane Bowl, which has a $1.2 million payout, emerged as the best-case scenario for Rutgers late last week when the Big Ten sent a memo to all its athletic directors warning of the possibility that one bowl-eligible team could be left out and urging schools to advocate with bowls on their own behalf.
“We couldn’t be more excited for the matchup,” Lions team president Tom Lewand said. “As we were sitting in our office on Sunday after our win against Tampa Bay, we got to finalize this great matchup. It was something that added great energy to the day, and I think it’s added energy to our city over the last couple of days.”
Making their ninth bowl appearance in the past 10 years, the Scarlet Knights (7-5) will be looking for their first postseason victory under coach Kyle Flood since he took over the program in January 2012.
North Carolina seemed basically dead in the water after a 2-4 start to the year, but the strong quarterback play from Marquise Williams lifted this team to relevancy to round out the year. Williams has been solid this season for the Tar Heels, passing for 2,870 yards, 20 touchdowns and just nine interceptions while also leading the team in rushing with 737 yards and 12 scores.
The junior quarterback’s favorite target has been Ryan Switzer who has caught a team-high 55 passes for 703 yards and four scores while Mack Hollins leads the team with eight receiving touchdowns to go along with 611 yards on 34 catches.
Defensively, Rutgers has struggled to stay afloat this season, ranking just 92nd in points and 97th in total yards surrendered per game. North Carolina has been even less impressive — if you can believe that’s possible — ranking 119th in points allowed and 118th in total yards allowed per game this season.
When: 4:30 p.m. EST on Friday, Dec. 26
Where: Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.
PREDICTION: North Carolina 41, Rutgers 31
Tickets: $35, $45, $65 and $89. They are available at quicklanebowl.com, the Ford Field box office (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or by calling 877-212-8898.
About The Quick Lane Bowl
• The 2014 Quick Lane Bowl is a postseason collegiate football bowl game sponsored by Ford Motor Company’s chain of Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers that features teams from the Big Ten and ACC conferences.
• Ford Motor Company’s Quick Lane Tire & Auto Centers offer routine vehicle maintenance such as oil and filter changes, light repair services including brake repair, and tire replacements on all vehicle makes and models. Customers can visit http://www.quicklane.com to learn more.
• The inaugural bowl game will take place at Ford Field December 26 at 4:30 PM ET and will air nationally on ESPN.
• This is a new bowl game and has no affiliation with the Little Caesars Bowl or Motor City Bowl.
• The bowl game is one of five new college football bowl games in the 2014-15 bowl lineup, alongside the Raycom Camellia Bowl, the Miami Beach Bowl, the Boca Raton Bowl and the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl.
• The Detroit Lions are committed to maintaining postseason college football in Detroit and keeping the city in consideration for the Big Ten Championship game, and potential College Football Playoff games. The team expects to institute a new winter tradition in Detroit similar to the Detroit Bell Isle Grand Prix, the city’s annual spring IndyCar race.
• For ticket information please visit fordfield.com or call (877) 212-8898.
Accommodations, Activities and Special Events:
• Both teams will arrive in Detroit December 23 and stay at The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit (ACC) and The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center (Big Ten).
• Punch Bowl Social (ACC) and Fishbone’s Rhythm Kitchen Café (Big Ten) have been named the official restaurants and bars for each team’s fans.
• A welcome reception at the historic Henry Ford Museum. will include a private tour of the museum highlighted by the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s traveling exhibit, Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
• Teams will also get to enjoy a lunch at Detroit’s Historic American Coney Island – home of the true original Coney style hot dog.
• Ice Skating in Campus Martius Park located in the heart of Downtown Detroit.
• Team guests will experience:
o Shopping outing at Somerset Collection, an upscale, luxury, super-regional shopping mall in Metro Detroit.
o Five-part tour of the Ford Rouge Factory, including a walking tour above the final assembly where Ford F-150s are produced.
• In the spirit of the holiday season, players, coaches and staff from both teams will have an opportunity to give back to the community on Christmas Eve by helping to pack food for disadvantaged families through Gleaners Community Food Bank.
• Additionally, several local PAL (Police Athletic League) football teams will receive new uniforms (jersey and pants) from Nike and a helmet from Riddell.
Participating Coach and Player Gifts:
• Players from each respective school will receive a gift package at a value of $550 to include:
o Fathead custom graphic of each player with their likeness
o Sony Headphones
o $250 Best Buy Gift Card
o Quick Lane Bowl merchandise
o Quick Lane Bowl football
• The winning team will receive a custom trophy and a $25,000 locker room makeover compliments of Fathead.
• Each coach will receive luxury watches from Detroit based company Shinola and a welcome basket featuring Michigan products from Meijer.
Quick Lane Bowl Social Media:
• Website – http://www.quicklanebowl.com
• Facebook – Quick Lane Bowl
• Twitter – @quicklanebowl
• Instagram – Quicklanebowl