For the second time in school history, the South Carolina Gamecocks have defeated the Michigan Wolverines in the Outback Bowl. An astounding second half effort, led by Gamecock Quarterback Jake Bentley helped South Carolina to a 26-19 win over Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines. If you are a Carolina fan, then you couldn’t ask for a better bowl win to cap off a very impressive season.
Big props to Head Coach Will Muschamp and all the work he has done for this program. I’d be willing to make the argument that no SEC coach has produced more with less this season than Coach Boom. In large, the win can be attributed to an overall team effort, with every Gamecocks player doing everything they needed to do to ensure the season ending victory. Below are some of my main takeaways from this year’s Outback Bowl, including key factors, players, and plays that helped South Carolina to this great win.
When people look back on this game, the costly turnovers to which Michigan fell victim, will certainly be a major talking point. Harbaugh was shaking his head as the Wolverines turned the ball over FIVE times, including two interceptions, a red zone fumble, a muffed punt, and one turnover on downs on a very questionable 4th and 10 attempt. After a low scoring first half, South Carolina was able to capitalize on Michigan’s costly mistakes in the 2nd half and take over the game.
When the diet starts tomorrow pic.twitter.com/xZDNoFLh45
— Student Union (@StudentUSports) January 1, 2018
At least 3 of the turnovers can be attributed to a very impressive South Carolina defense. Their secondary gave Michigan’s Brandon Peters trouble all night, and defensive backs JaMarcus King and Steven Montac both came up with huge interceptions. Montac’s pick in the end zone was easily the biggest defensive play of the game, and also earned USC the Outback Bowl record for defensive takeaways.
I can’t say enough about this dude. Jake Bentley has really came into his own here in his Sophomore season and proved it in this one, throwing for two touchdowns and 239 yards. Everyone knew he was supposed to be legit when he decided to skip his Senior year off high school and head straight to college ball, but now he is living up to the hype on a national level. He still makes mistakes here and there, but when it comes down to crunch time, this man has pulled out multiple wins for this Gamecocks team. The best part is he is still young and has had the opportunity of growing with this young USC team.
South Carolina Receivers
Bentley certainly didn’t do it alone on offense tonight, in fact he was able to complete passes to 6 different teammates over the course of the Outback Bowl. The most notable performances came from Freshman receiver Shi Smith and and Sophomore receiver Bryan Edwards, who both caught second half touchdown passes and also combined to amass over 145 receiving yards. Also, a shout out to Hayden Hurst, South Carolina’s senior tight end who was able to record his 100th collegiate catch today…Look out for this man in the NFL draft.
— Sports Degens (@TheSportsDegens) January 1, 2018
All in all, a great way to cap of the season and kick off the new year for this South Carolina program. Finishing the year with a record of 9-4, the Gamecocks should be proud of their season. With that being said, the Gamecocks are still a very young team, and Coach Muschamp will certainly be shooting for more then 10 wins in 2018. USC is also 4-1 in their 5 Outback Bowl appearances, safe to say they own this one…Blooming Onion and all.
Also, its pretty much impossible to write and article about South Carolina in the Outback Bowl without including the greatest Outback Bowl play of all time…Provided by my man Jadeveon Clowney. Happy New Years, everyone!