Quick had a touchdown off a blocked punt last season and played some in the offense, scoring his first offensive TD last week in Virginia.
On Saturday night, Quick finally has his breakout game.
"It feels great to have a big game," Quick said. "But I just wanted to come out here and perform in this environment. There weren't many fans here, so just perform like I know I can do and try to help my team."
The former five-star recruit finished with seven catches for 174 yards and two TDs, while finishing with 235 all-purpose yards. He's been switched to the team's main punt returner and had two where he nearly broke for TDs, getting long gains.
"Now that he's confident in catching the ball and he has a little experience in the game, we know that we can depend on him, even with DeVante Parker being down," defensive standout Lorenzo Mauldin said of Quick.
U of L coach Bobby Petrino and offensive coordinator Garrick McGee have been saying in recent weeks that Quick was showing major improvement and it's now showing to all.
"He's been showing those type of things in practice and it's great to see it come out in a game like that," Petrino said.
Quick's first TD was a highlight-reel play.
With the Cardinals only leading 14-0 late in the first half, quarterback Will Gardner dropped back and flung a pass down the right sideline. He went up over FIU cornerback Richard Leonard and ripped the ball away from Leonard, who had his hand on it.
Quick not only snagged the ball, but regained his balance after landing, stayed in bounds and darted down the sidelines into the end zone.
"We called the play two times in a row," Petrino said. "The first time he was wide open and Will had to move in the pocket and ran out and got us a first down. So we called it again and this time the corner fell off right at the end and James went up and made a great catch."
Quick praised the U of L strength staff for their help with him during the offeseason in ripping the ball away from Leonard.
"I just didn't want him to catch the ball," Quick said. "I just grabbed it and that's where the weight room comes into play. . . . I feel like it was a big play that had to be made. We were slacking a bit and needed one of those."
Petrino said earlier in the week the offense needed to make some plays down the field and Quick said they needed a big play.
"We always look for the big plays but sometimes it doesn't work out like planned," Quick said. "But we have to keep trying for a big play and this time it worked."
On punt returns, Quick had seven for 61 yards and gave the U of L fans a little excitement on a couple of them. His longest was 24 yards and he had another 20-plus yard return negated by a block in the back in the first quarter.
Quick seems to enjoy the punt return role, with 10 returns for 98 yards in two games. He's averaging 9.8 yards a return and has had two long gains negated by penalty. The other returnees were averaging less than two yards a return.
"Punt return is fun," he said. "I just like to go out there and get as many yards as I can get on every one."
After a record-breaking career at Trinity, Quick was named MVP of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was the highest-rated recruit ever signed at U of L. He came into last year’s fall camp with a lot of expectations.
But he struggled as a freshman.
Quick played in nine games but only had six catches for 73 yards, including a 31-yard catch in a win at South Florida. He scored his only touchdown against Central Florida when he picked up a blocked punt and raced into the end zone.
As a sophomore, Quick leads the team with 17 receptions for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He also plays on every special teams unit and has four tackles, while rushing one time in the Miami game for 12 yards.
He has a team-high 372 all-purpose yards.
"I just try to come out and play hard every day," he said.