The South Carolina Gamecocks (9-4) came back to beat the Michigan Wolverines (8-5) (score)in the Outback Bowl on Monday afternoon in Tampa.
In his return from a concussion, Brandon Peters made 20 completions for 186 yards and two interceptions. Karan Higdon led the team with 17 carries for 65 yards.
The loss marks the first by a Big Ten team in a bowl game this season. Before today, the conference was 7-0.
The Wolverines were given opportunities to put points on the board in the first quarter thanks to two South Carolina fumbles, but they were only able to score two field goals. Each team would add another before halftime making the score 9-3.
Michigan’s offense finally woke up in the second half, driving 72 yards on seven plays to score the first touchdown of the game and adding a field goal two drives later to make it 19-3.
Suddenly, the Gamecocks scored their first touchdown of the game on their next drive, missing a two-point conversion. However, they would get the ball right back after a Michigan fumble and scored another touchdown to make it 19-16 heading into the final quarter of play.
With 11:33 left in the contest, South Carolina’s Jake Bentley found receiver Shi Smith for a 53-yard touchdown to take a 23-19 lead, their first of the game. The Wolverines drove to the South Carolina five-yard line with eight minutes left, but Brandon Peters would throw an interception on third and goal, his first interception of the season.
After forcing South Carolina to punt, Donovan Peoples-Jones fumbled a potential return inside his own red zone giving Michigan its fourth turnover of the second half. South Carolina would add a field goal to make it 26-19 with 3:47 left in the game.
The Wolverines would go four and out on their subsequent drive, but a missed field goal by the Gamecocks would give the maize and blue a second chance to tie the game only for Brandon Peters to throw an interception on fourth and one.
The Wolverines will now finish the year with eight wins, their fewest since Jim Harbaugh became the head coach. They now face a crucial offseason with quite a few questions, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Most notably, they wonder what it will take to finally return to national prominence.