MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (8-4)
vs. SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS (10-2)
Outback Bowl - Tampa, FL
Kickoff: Tuesday, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Line: South Carolina -6, Total: 47.5
South Carolina brings a four-game win streak to Tampa in Tuesday's Outback Bowl to take on a Michigan team that is just 2-4 (SU and ATS) in non-home games this year.
Since losing star RB Marcus Lattimore to a knee injury, the Gamecocks have rushed for just 136 YPG on 3.2 YPC, but the defense has saved them by giving up just 14.7 PPG with eight forced turnovers in these three games. Wolverines star Denard Robinson will likely play running back again, trying to build on his 117 rushing YPG (14th in nation). Both defenses are fierce with South Carolina allowing 312 total YPG (12th in FBS) and Michigan giving up 311 total YPG (11th in FBS).
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Michigan has played a brutal schedule with three of its four losses coming to the top-three teams in the nation (Notre Dame, Alabama and Ohio State). But its offense went south in its last game against OSU, failing to score a single point after halftime in a 26-21 defeat. The Wolverines will once again lean on Denard Robinson, who capped off a brilliant career (4,395 rush yds, 42 rush TD) with 1,166 rushing yards and 7 TD, plus 1,319 passing yards and 9 TD this season. He missed a couple of games due to an injury on his throwing elbow, which is why he's been stationed in the backfield instead of under center. Robinson has done pretty well as a running back, chewing up 220 yards on the ground in these past two games, but he may actually be able to throw the football in this game too with such a long layoff since Michigan's last game on Nov. 24. But if he can't throw very well, QB Devin Gardner has proven himself worthy of the starting job, passing for 1,005 yards with 8 TD and 4 INT since replacing Robinson. Defensively, Michigan allows just 155 passing YPG, but it will be missing starting CB J.T. Floyd who was suspended for this bowl game.
South Carolina also has a bit of a quarterback dilemma with Connor Shaw expected to be nearly 100 percent recovered from his foot injury. But Dylan Thompson had a great performance in the 27-17 win over Clemson in the regular season finale with 310 passing yards and 3 TD. Head coach Steve Spurrier has not announced his decision yet on who will start under center, but that player has the added burden of not having a star running back to keep the Wolverines honest. Marcus Lattimore was lost for the season a few games ago after suffering a major knee injury. Stud sophomore DE Jadeveon Clowney anchors a stout front four on defense, trying to build on his two school records of 13 sacks and 21.5 Tackles for Loss this season. He amassed 4.5 sacks in the win versus Clemson.