Key matchups and the players to watch for Tuesday's Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium

No. 11 South Carolina (10-2) vs. No. 19 Michigan (8-4), 1 p.m. EST (ESPN) at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium. Line: South Carolina by 4.
 
Series record: Tied 1-1.
 
WHAT'S AT STAKE
 
South Carolina is trying to close out the most successful three-year run with the second 11-win season in school history. The Gamecocks, who've won four straight after consecutive losses to LSU and Florida derailed hopes of playing for the Southeastern Conference title, won 11 games for the first time last season. Michigan is trying to avoid ending a two-game losing streak. Three of the Wolverines' four losses came against the top three teams in the Associated Press poll -- Notre Dame, Alabama and Ohio State -- heading into the postseason.
 
KEY MATCHUP
 
South Carolina QB's Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson against the Michigan defense, which ranks second in the nation against the pass (155.2 yards per game. Michigan standout left tackle Taylor Lewan vs. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who has 13 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss. It's an All-American matchup.
 
PLAYERS TO WATCH
 
South Carolina: Shaw has thrown for 1,732 yards and 15 TDs, while backup Thompson has thrown for 910 yards and eight TDs, including 310 yards and three TDs while filling in for the injured Shaw during the Gamecocks' regular season-ending victory over Clemson.
 
Michigan: QR Denard Robinson was replaced at QB by WR Devin Gardner late in the season after injuring his right elbow but has continued to contribute by running the ball and catching passes. Gardner is likely to start the Outback Bowl, however Robinson has thrown some passes in practice and coach Brady Hoke hasn't ruled out the possibility that he could play some at quarterback against South Carolina.
 
FACTS & FIGURES
 
Michigan's 42 bowl appearances are the most in college football history. The Wolverines are 20-21, including 7-4 all-time against Southeastern Conference teams in bowl games. They are 18-17 in January bowl games. ... South Carolina is making its seventh bowl appearance under coach Steve Spurrier, who's trying to become the first coach to win three bowl games at the school.
 
The Gamecocks' 21 wins over the past two seasons are a school record. ... Michigan is 3-1 in four previous trips to the Outback Bowl, beating Alabama in 1988, North Carolina State in 1994 and Florida in 2003 and losing to Alabama in 1997. ... South Carolina is in the Outback for the fourth time. The Gamecocks beat Ohio State in 2001 and 2002, but lost to Iowa in 2009.
Print this article Back to Top

Comments