Outback Bowl: South Carolina Gamecocks rally past Michigan Wolverines

By Greg Auman, The Sports Xchange  |  Jan. 1, 2018 at 4:58 PM
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TAMPA, Fla. -- South Carolina, trailing 19-3 late in the third quarter, got big plays from quarterback Jake Bentley and rallied for a 26-19 win on Monday in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.

The Gamecocks (9-4) recovered a Michigan fumble at their 4-yard line to stop one drive, then scored three straight touchdowns to take the lead.

Michigan had four second-half turnovers, the last when the Gamecocks' Steven Montac intercepted a pass with 1:12 remaining.

Rico Dowdle ran 17 yards for a score and Bentley threw a 21-yard pass to Bryan Edwards in a span of of 94 seconds late in the third quarter to pull South Carolina within three. Then Bentley threw a 53-yard score to freshman Shi Smith for a 23-19 lead with 11:33 to play.

Michigan (8-5) has lost three straight games, including two in the regular season to top-10 teams in Wisconsin and Ohio State.

Michigan had a good chance to take the lead back in the fourth quarter, driving to the South Carolina 6-yard line. But on third-and-goal from the 5, Brandon Peters rolled to his left and saw his pass intercepted in the end zone by South Carolina's JaMarcus King with 7:53 remaining.

Michigan's Donovan Peoples-Jones muffed a punt inside his 15 with 5:43 left, and Parker White hit a 22-yard field goal to extend the lead to seven with 3:47 left.

Bentley threw for 239 yards and two touchdowns.

Peters couldn't complete passes with any consistency for Michigan. Given a chance to tie the score in the final four minutes, he threw incomplete on four straight passes from his 25.

But White missed a field goal attempt from 48 yards to give Michigan one more chance with 1:43 left.

The Wolverines again couldn't get so much as a first down, with Peters' fourth-down throw intercepted by Montac to seal the win for South Carolina. Peters finished 20 of 44 for 186 yards with one touchdowns and two interceptions.

The second half had little in common with the first, which saw neither team manage 100 yards in total offense or a touchdown. Michigan led 9-3.

Quinn Nordin went 3 of 3 on field goals for all of the Wolverines' first-half points.

After a rough 3-2 start, South Carolina went 6-2 the rest of the way, with their only losses to top-five opponents Georgia and Clemson. Michigan finished the year with three straight double-digit losses.

NOTES: The game was a rematch of the 2013 Outback Bowl that saw South Carolina edge Michigan 33-28. The Gamecocks are now 4-1 in the Outback Bowl since 2001, the first school to win the Outback Bowl four times. Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Penn State and Michigan have won three times each. ... Neither team could muster a run game in the first half, with Michigan totaling 21 yards on 17 carries and South Carolina netting 16 on 10 carries. ... The SEC and Big Ten had alternated wins for seven years before back-to-back SEC wins now. Iowa and Northwestern won back-to-back in 2009-10.

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