Only a freshman, Hicks ran through the North Carolina defense all Friday night, racking up 202 yards rushing and a touchdown on 19 carries. And Rutgers – most importantly – earned the win, defeating North Carolina 40-21 in the inaugural Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field.
For his performance, Hicks earned him the Quick Lane Bowl MVP award.
Not bad for a true freshman, who only played in five games this season.
“It’s my childhood dream,” Hicks said on winning the MVP. “Like it really hit me [when I held the trophy]. That made it surreal. Everyone wants to hold up a trophy. I was blessed to hold it up at the end of the game.”
A native of Palmetto, Fla., Hicks finished his first season at Rutgers with 440 yards rushing and two touchdowns. But most of his work came in the last four games for the Scarlet Knights, as Rutgers finished 3-1 down the stretch.
“I was just playing my role,” Hicks said. “And whenever my number got called – I would be ready to play.”
However, Hicks’ wasn’t the lone bright spot in the Rutgers run game. Fellow true freshman Robert Martin rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the bowl win. Giving first Rutgers its first duo to rush for over a 100 yards in the same game since Ray Rice and Brian Leonard achieved the feat against Syracuse in 2006.
“We just came out to win,” Hicks said on his and Martin’s performance. “And that’s what we did. The O-line helped create lanes. And we was able to hit holes and make plays.”
With his freshman season now in the books, Hicks has already switched his focus on his sophomore campaign.
“I just have to delete this out the window,” Hicks said. “Get in the weight room. Get bigger stronger, faster and get ready for next year.”