Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No. 11 South Carolina Gamecocks beat No. 19 Michigan Wolverines 33-28 in Outback Bowl

TAMPA — When posterity sifts through all the breathtaking ebb and flow, boxes up all the subplots and surreality, it likely will condense the 27th Outback Bowl into a pair of riveting snapshots.

Six-foot-6 South Carolina blunt-force purveyor Jadeveon Clowney dislodging one Michi­gan player from his helmet and 5-9 receiver Bruce Ellington dissecting the rest of the Wolverines' hearts.

Arguably the most exhilarating Outback Bowl ever ended with Ellington catching a 32-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Dylan Thompson with 11 seconds to go, giving No. 11 South Carolina a 33-28 victory before 54,527 at Raymond James Stadium on Tuesday.

The winner occurred 3:18 after No. 19 Michi­gan (8-5) capped a 10-play drive on junior Devin Gardner's third scoring pass of the game and roughly eight minutes after the most dizzying three-play sequence in Outback Bowl history.

"We haven't won one like that since I've been here in eight years," said Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier, who might have set a personal record for game balls awarded.

"So hopefully, that will sort of tell us, 'Hey, we can do that. It's possible. Just hang in there.' "

Facing the nation's No. 2-ranked pass defense, the Gamecocks (11-2) ran only 53 plays to Michigan's 82 and had the ball nearly 16 fewer minutes.

But they converted five pass plays of 31 or more yards, duped the Wolverines on a 64-yard keeper by starting quarterback Connor Shaw and watched game MVP Ace Sanders return Michi­gan's first punt of the day 63 yards for a touchdown.

"There are a couple of things in football that you don't want to do, and No. 1, you can't give up big plays," Wolverines second-year coach Brady Hoke said. "We had three, really four big plays in the throw game that we can't allow to happen."

He'll be pondering the final one all the way back to Ann Arbor.

Five plays after Shaw exited after aggravating an injured foot, Thompson found Ellington on a play Spurrier calls "Steamer X" near the goal line.

A point guard for the Gamecocks basketball team, Ellington caught the pass near the 2, juked a defender and dashed to his left into the end zone.

"I saw the safety coming, so I just wanted to make him miss and make it look a little more interesting," Ellington said.

As if this game needed more interest.

The final 15:02 featured four lead changes alone, highlighted by Sanders' 31-yard catch from Shaw with 8:06 to play, giving South Carolina a 27-22 lead.

Two plays earlier, Michigan had executed a fake punt — by inches. The play after that, Clowney sliced his way into the Wolverines backfield just as Vincent Smith was taking the handoff, crashed his helmet into Smith's chest and sent the ball — and Smith's helmet and dreadlocks — flying.

"A car crash," Sanders said when asked how the hit sounded.

Clowney, a first-team All-America end and potential No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, said Smith had hit him earlier.

"He laughed about it," Clowney said. "I said, 'I'm going to get you later on.' "

After Clowney separated players from game balls, Spurrier distributed them liberally. Both Shaw and Thompson, who teamed for 341 passing yards and four touchdowns, received one, as did the Gamecocks' seniors.

"(Shaw) sort of hobbled off, and Dylan was right there on call; and obviously, no hesitation to (run) him in there," Spurrier said of the final series. "Both those young men are just super team-oriented. There are no jealousies; nothing."

The other quarterback tandem wasn't shabby either. Under duress most of the day, Gardner still finished 18-for-36 for 214 yards and three touchdowns.

Meantime, former starter Denard Robinson, a utility player since hurting a nerve in his throwing elbow in late October, ran for a game-high 100 yards and finished as the NCAA's all-time rushing leader (4,495 yards) among quarterbacks. Robinson eclipsed West Virginia's Pat White by 15 yards.

Small consolation to Hoke.

"You know what the answer is. (The season) wasn't successful," he said when asked about the 2012 campaign.

"You compete to win championships."

Joey Knight can be reached at

No. 11 South Carolina Gamecocks beat No. 19 Michigan Wolverines 33-28 in Outback Bowl 01/01/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 11:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)


    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  2. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, acitvate Alex Cobb


    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  3. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    The Austin Pruitt experiment might be over, or at least put on pause. After allowing six runs over seven innings to Seattle on Friday, the rookie didn't get through the fourth Wednesday, giving up five runs on four homers. His ERA for past six starts: 5.29.

  5. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.