The 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational presented by STAT BOX STORIES continues with the Outback Bowl, which matches up the #10 South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2, 6-2 SEC) and the #18 Michigan Wolverines (8-4, 6-2 Big Ten). STAT BOX STORIES owner Brian Parker took control of the underdog Wolverines as they look for a second consecutive Bowl Game victory, though not in a BCS Bowl this season.
Outback Bowl showdown between ranked teams goes handily to Michigan, 38-14 over Gamecocks
Tampa, F.L. – What was expected to be a defensive showdown at least partially lived up to expectations as the #18 Wolverines of Michigan battled to a 38-14 victory over the #10 South Carolina Gamecocks. In a season where the Big Ten Conference was down and viewed as weak while the SEC continued a run of dominance, Michigan’s defense had a large hand in the Outback Bowl victory.
The game started off very competitively, with South Carolina opening the scoring on a 1-yard rush by QB #14 mid-way through the first quarter. Michigan connected on a 28-yard field goal late in the quarter to cut the lead to 7-3.
In the second quarter, a 4-yard run by QB #16—playing as the team’s primary halfback—with 4:37 left in the half gave Michigan their first lead of the game, 10-7. The Gamecocks forced a fumble by Michigan QB #12 on a sack late in the quarter and found themselves deep in Wolverine territory, scoring on a 1-yard pass from QB #14 to TE #87 to take back a 14-10 lead and appear to be in control heading into halftime. However, just two plays later Michigan QB #12 found WR #21 wide open behind an unaware Gamecocks secondary and completed a 78-yard touchdown pass to give the Wolverines a 17-14 lead at the break.
The third quarter was all Michigan; less than a minute in, the Wolverines scored on the second connection between QB #12 and WR #21, a 44-yard touchdown pass to go up by 10 points. Fifty-nine seconds later, QB #12 found WR #10 for a 52-yard touchdown pass and a 17-point lead. As the quarter was drawing to a close, South Carolina QB #14 was tackled by Michigan DT #73 on a scramble and the ball was fumbled free before being scooped up by CB #8 and returned 51 yards for a touchdown and a 38-14 lead. The Gamecocks starting quarterback was injured on the play and was unable to return.
Neither team scored in the fourth quarter, with Michigan playing very conservatively on offense and South Carolina unable to mount a comeback being led by their backup. Though the Wolverines’ victory was less notable than their Allstate Sugar Bowl win from a year ago, their triumph over a SEC school was an unexpected result for the Bowl Season.
Player of the Game: Michigan DT #73, who had 7 tackles (4 sacks) and forced a fumble which was returned by the Wolverines defense for a touchdown.
It was over when… South Carolina QB #14 was tackled hard by DT #73 of Michigan, causing a fumble which was returned 51 yards for a score by Wolverines CB #8. The result was an injury to QB #14 and a 24-point deficit which could not be overcome by the Gamecocks backup.
Game Ball goes to… South Carolina QB #14, who threw for a touchdown pass and was the team’s leading rusher as he improvised on multiple scrambles to adjust to stifling pass defense from the Wolverines. As soon as he was out of the game, the Gamecocks hopes were completely dashed.
Stat of the Game: 83% and 33%. Those were the completion percentages, respectively, of South Carolina QB #14 and QB #17. With QB #14 out due to injury, the Gamecocks offense stalled and could not stage a comeback.
Statistical Tidbits: The Gamecocks held a slim advantage in rushing yards, out-gaining Michigan 119 to 103. The Wolverines, however, ruled the air with 237 yards passing to South Carolina’s 181. While each team scored on the ground, Michigan had three passing touchdowns to the Gamecock’s one. … Despite the victory, Michigan was terrible on third down conversions, managing to go only 2-for-9 on the game. South Carolina’s conversion percentage was more respectable, going 5-for-13. The Gamecocks converted on one of two fourth down tries, while Michigan was 1-for-1 on fourth down. … Michigan had a 100% red zone scoring rate, while South Carolina’s rate was 50% with two touchdowns on four trips inside the Michigan 20-yard-line. Michigan lost a fumble, but South Carolina threw two interceptions while also losing a fumble to fall behind in the turnover battle. … The Gamecocks were flagged 7 times for 58 penalty yards, while Michigan was flagged only twice for 10 yards. … South Carolina held possession for 5:32 longer than the Wolverines, but it did not translate into a victory.