Michigan Loses Lead, Outback Bowl on Gamecocks' Late TD
After claiming two fourth-quarter leads, the University of Michigan football team (No. 19 AP/No. 22 USA Today) fell to South Carolina (No. 11 AP/No. 10 USA Today), 33-28, Tuesday (Jan. 1) in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium. The Gamecocks scored a touchdown with 11 seconds remaining to secure their second straight 11-win season.
The Wolverines took a one-point advantage with less than four minutes left on a touchdown reception by senior/junior receiver Jeremy Gallon (Apopka, Fla./Apopka), but Michigan was unable to halt South Carolina's game-winning drive.
Junior quarterback Devin Gardner (Detroit, Mich./Inkster) threw for 214 yards and three scores, while Gallon caught a career-high nine passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) totaled a team-high 100 rushing yards and claimed first place on the all-time NCAA quarterback rushing list with 4,495 yards, passing Pat White (4,480) from West Virginia.
The Gamecocks received the opening kickoff, and on the third play from scrimmage, Connor Shaw connected with Damiere Byrd for a 56-yard touchdown to take an early 7-0 lead. After a first down on the ensuing Michigan drive, Gardner threw an interception.
South Carolina was forced to a three-and-out on its next possession, and the Maize and Blue moved the ball 51 yards down the field on eight plays, ending with a 39-yard field goal by senior/junior kicker Brendan Gibbons (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) to make the score 7-3 midway through the first quarter.
After an exchange of possessions, Michigan punted the ball to South Carolina, and Ace Sanders returned it 63 yards for a score to extend the lead to 14-3 with three minutes to go in the first quarter.
The Wolverines then reclaimed possession and mounted a 11-play, 76-yard drive, using Robinson consistently as a running back and ending with a five-yard touchdown pass from Gardner to junior receiver Drew Dileo (Greenwell Springs, La./Parkview Baptist) to cut it to 14-10 early in the second quarter.
However, on third down of the following possession, the Gamecocks completed a 70-yard pass to the Michigan four-yard line, before Sanders found the end zone on the subsequent play to give South Carolina a 21-10 lead.
With 7:21 left in the first half, freshman defensive lineman Mario Ojemudia (Farmington Hills, Mich./Harrison) hit the Gamecocks ball carrier in the backfield, forcing a fumble that junior/sophomore linebacker Jake Ryan (Westlake, Ohio/St. Ignatius) recovered. On fourth down, the Wolverines faked a field goal, as the holder Dileo kept the ball for a first down. Four plays later, Gibbons added his second field goal, from 40 yards, to make the halftime score 21-13.
The Wolverines took the ball to begin the second half but were forced to punt after three plays. Shaw then took a fake handoff and ran 64 yards deep into Michigan territory on South Carolina's second play. However, Michigan forced the Gamecocks into a failed field attempt to regain possession.
Michigan moved the ball down the field, fueled by a 17-yard reception by Gallon, and sophomore kicker Matt Wile (San Diego, Calif./Francis Parker) converted a career-long 52-yard field goal to bring the Wolverines within five points, 21-16, midway through the third quarter.
After South Carolina turned it over on downs in Michigan territory, the Maize and Blue took possession and on a fourth-and-one at its own 44-yard line, Gardner kept the ball for a 19-yard pickup. Later on a third-and-five, Gardner dashed for a 10-yard gain and another first down. Two plays later, Gardner found Gallon in the corner of the end zone to give Michigan its first lead of the contest, 22-21.
The Gamecocks moved the ball back into Michigan territory, but the Wolverines blocked a 42-yard field goal attempt to keep the lead and regain possession with 10 minutes remaining in the game. On a fourth-and-four, Michigan faked a punt and narrowly gained a first down. On the next play, Jadeveon Clowney hit senior running back Vincent Smith (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee) as he took the handoff, causing a fumble that Clowney recovered.
Shaw connected with Sanders on the first South Carolina play for a 30-yard touchdown pass to reclaim the lead, 27-22, with eight minutes to go.
On the ensuing Michigan possession, the Wolverines picked up four first downs, before Gardner found Gallon in the end zone for the second time on the afternoon. The score gave Michigan its second lead, 28-27, with 3:29 remaining in the contest.
The Gamecocks marched the ball down the field in the final minutes, scoring a 32-yard touchdown with 11 seconds remaining to take a 33-28 advantage, leaving the Wolverines without time to respond as the final seconds elapsed.