If you like defense, you’re going to love the Outback Bowl. Neither the Michigan Wolverines nor the South Carolina Gamecocks have great offenses, but both reached the Outback Bowl on the back of their awesome defenses.
South Carolina Bowl History
The Gamecocks haven’t won a bowl game since the 2014 Independence Bowl. They played in the Birmingham Bowl last season and were beaten by USF.
South Carolina won the Outback Bowl in 2012 but lost the game in 2008. When Lou Holtz was the head coach of the Gamecocks, he won this game in both 2000 and 2001.
Michigan Bowl History
The Wolverines are playing in a bowl game for the third straight season. They lost last year’s Outback Bowl against Florida State and won the Citrus Bowl the year prior.
This is the fourth time Michigan has played in the Outback Bowl. The team won this game in 2002 and lost it in both 1996 and 2012.
Michigan has played in a whopping 45 bowl games in program history, but the team is only 21-24 in those matchups.
Why South Carolina Will Win the Outback Bowl
This could be a big game for Jake Bentley. He hasn’t played all that well at times in 2017, but there’s no doubt that he’s the best quarterback South Carolina has had in quite some time. The sophomore threw for 2,555 yards, topping out at the 304 yards he had against Kentucky in the middle of September.
The key is the South Carolina defense. The Gamecocks didn’t allow more than 34 points to any team this year, including a game against Clemson. The raw stats aren’t fantastic for South Carolina, but this is clearly Will Muschamp’s specialty.
Why Michigan Will Win the Outback Bowl
No team in America has a better pass defense than Michigan. The Wolverines are allowing just 142.7 passing yards per game.
Big Blue only really got blown out of the water by Penn State this year, allowing 42 points in that one. Even against Ohio State, Michigan played a great defensive game.
Chris Evans and Karan Higdon are a formidable rushing duo. The two combined for 1,590 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground this fall.
Outback Bowl Prediction
These teams faced off in the Outback Bowl in 2012. The biggest play of the game belonged to Jadeveon Clowney when he blew up a Michigan running back, causing the fumble that won the game for the Gamecocks.
The Wolverines aren’t going to have a single quarterback throw for 1,000 yards this season, and that’s a big problem. They can’t come from behind in games unless they do so on the ground. Though Higdon and Evans are great, they don’t create a lot of huge plays.
South Carolina will have a lot of problems keeping the ball moving against the Michigan defense, but we suspect that one or two touchdowns will end up being enough to win this game.
Outback Bowl Pick: South Carolina 20, Michigan 13
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