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Gamecocks stun Wolverines on late TD to claim Outback Bowl

University of South Carolina's Bruce Ellington reaches out for the end zone for touchdown against the University of Michigan during the fourth quarter of their NCAA Outback Bowl game in Tampa, Florida Reuters

For a fleeting moment Tuesday afternoon, it appeared the Big Ten was about to shake the postseason SEC monkey off its back.  Northwestern had already easily handled a disappointing Mississippi State squad, while both Nebraska and Michigan held leads, albeit tenuous ones, on their SEC opposition.

In the end, though, we’re right back to where New Year’s Day began: the SEC owning the B1G.

As noted earlier, Georgia pulled away from the Cornhuskers in the second of the three B1G-SEC matchups.  In the third, it was No. 11 South Carolina pulling some late-game magic out of the Ol’ Ball Coach’s visor to add another B1G notch to the SEC’s headboard.

After Michigan had taken a 28-27 lead with 3:29 left in the game, a 70-yard Gamecocks drive was capped by a 32-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Thompson (backup quarterback) to Bruce Ellington (basketball point guard) with 11 ticks left, handing USC a stunning 33-28 Outback Bowl win over the Wolverines.  The Gamecocks have now won 23 games the past two seasons, with the 12 wins last season and 11 in 2012 marking the two winningest seasons in the school’s history.

Ace Sanders was the offensive star of the game for the Gamecocks, catching two touchdown passes as well as returning a punt 63 yards for another score.  It was Jadeveon Clowney, though, who stole the show.

The freakish sophomore defensive end was the talk of Twitter, largely due in part to one play that personified his freakish ability.  On that play, which came immediately after one of the most blatant missed calls of this or any other bowl season, Clowney simultaneously relieved Michigan’s Vincent Smith of both his helmet and the ball in one of the more jaw-dropping sequences you’ll ever witness:


That right there is exactly why Clowney will be a preseason favorite for the 2013 Heisman Trophy and the odds-on favorite to be the first player selected in the 2014 NFL draft.

As for Michigan, it’s the fourth time the past five seasons the Wolverines have finished with at least five losses.  This five-loss season, though, was different from other years as the five losses came to teams with a combined record of 57-7, including losses to the only two FBS schools that finished the regular season undefeated (Notre Dame, Ohio State).

There was one bright spot on the day as Denard Robinson broke Pat White‘s FBS record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 4,505.  The former West Virginia Mountaineers finished his WVU career with 4,493 yards.

The SEC is now 3-2 this bowl season, while the Big Ten dropped to 2-4.  The SEC is now 11-5 against the Big Ten in bowl games the past six years, including a 7-2 mark the past three postseasons.

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42 Responses to “Gamecocks stun Wolverines on late TD to claim Outback Bowl”
  1. cometkazie says: Jan 1, 2013 5:56 PM

    Good game. The refs tried to take it away from the Ole Ball Coach but righteousness prevailed!

  2. sanduskyshowerboy says: Jan 1, 2013 6:01 PM

    Michigan got sanduskied

  3. 8man says: Jan 1, 2013 6:07 PM

    Clowney should have hit the ref the way he blasted Vincent Smith on the ensuing play after that despicable call. There ought to be an investigation. That punk ref got it totally wrong.

    Still, the Cocks were able to rise above the clear incompetence, and possible corruption, of the referees and win. Amazing!

  4. tg1896 says: Jan 1, 2013 6:08 PM

    I guess the SEC haters will have to pin their hopes on ND.

  5. igottz5onit says: Jan 1, 2013 6:14 PM

    Good 24 hours for the state of South Carolina. I guess the rest of the country is lucky there are only two FBS schools in the state!

  6. jmays77 says: Jan 1, 2013 6:17 PM

    Uh it was Vincent Smith, not Denard Robinson, who got steamrolled by Clowney

  7. thebigtim2012 says: Jan 1, 2013 6:20 PM

    Good article even if part of it is factually wrong. Check the stats a lil better I know the morons on tv got it wrong to but I expect more here. Ace sanders was named player of the game/MVP by the bowl not clowney.

  8. thebigtim2012 says: Jan 1, 2013 6:28 PM

    I’d love to know what conference those refs are from

  9. John Taylor says: Jan 1, 2013 6:30 PM

    @bigtim: Thanks for the heads up. That’s what I get for relying on a Gruden-led broadcast.

  10. irishdodger says: Jan 1, 2013 6:38 PM

    Why use the word “stun” when USCe was the higher ranked, more talented & favored team to win? I guess John meant that late TD “stunned” MeatChicken. It didn’t stun learned CFB fans. Mattison had to keep dialing up blitzes b/c he has no pass rushers. It finally burned him. Congrats to the Gamecocks. Great game to watch. Clowney is a beast…but defensive players can’t win a Heisman.

  11. cfballfan1 says: Jan 1, 2013 6:43 PM


    JT- We can overlook the factual errorr but not harshing on our boy Gruden – he’s way more entertaining than 10 crusty old mushbergers or washed up pretty – boy QB’s!

  12. ttalarico says: Jan 1, 2013 6:50 PM

    Interesting that it came down to the last 11 seconds for an SEC team to beat Michigan. Is this the same Michigan team that ND beat that all the SEC fans say was a horrible team??

    SEC fans prepare yourself to be disappointed on Jan 7!

    Go Irish!!

  13. jckid21 says: Jan 1, 2013 7:00 PM

    NFL owners might vote to reverse the draft eligibility rules so they can get their hands on Clowney. He has the ability to dominate the college game next year like Hugh Green did. The closest I ever seen a non cornerback defenaive player come to win the heisman trophy

  14. thebigtim2012 says: Jan 1, 2013 7:04 PM

    @john Taylor it’s a busy day for ya mistakes happen. Hey at least you didn’t give a team a first down when they entire viewing audience saw they were at least a inch or 2 short those kinda mistakes can never happen oh wait never mind

  15. pb420 says: Jan 1, 2013 7:05 PM


    Most of your points are valid and spot on. The Heisman trophy going to a defensive player is possible though, as Charles Woodson can attest.

  16. acieu says: Jan 1, 2013 7:06 PM

    I think the Gamecocks mainly stunned the Clemson fans who were rooting against them.

  17. pastabelly says: Jan 1, 2013 7:09 PM

    2-4 is a great year for the Big 10.

  18. pb420 says: Jan 1, 2013 7:13 PM

    And way to go outback steakhouse for going cheap! Notice that they offered free coconut shrimp(which cost way more per unit than a bloomin onion) if, and a big IF at that, Michigan were to have won today. Everybody enjoy your deep-fried breaded onion slivers now!! Sorry, but I don’t think many were stunned today.

  19. clemsonstillsucks says: Jan 1, 2013 7:14 PM

    I think it was a Big East crew, which explains a lot.

    And JT is spot on – Gruden and Tirico claimed Clowney was the game MVP.

    As to the Clemson fans out there – great game and great job last night.

  20. pabstman says: Jan 1, 2013 7:15 PM

    How the hell did Robinson break Pat White’s record when he took most of his snaps from the RB position? He didn’t play QB for most of the second half of the season. I’m call BS on him breaking the record.

  21. 8man says: Jan 1, 2013 7:43 PM

    I still want more made of this refs call. Something ain’t right. WTF? That was blatant and irresponsible.

    Does anyone have this punk’s name and address? :)

  22. irishdodger says: Jan 1, 2013 7:53 PM


    I respectfully disagree. I’m confident that a Heisman has never been awarded to a player who played exclusively on defense. As we all remember, Woodson returned punts & played some WR. Before that Leon Hart won the trophy playing end on both sides of the line. I think there was an Ivy Leaguer that played both ways as well & won the trophy.

  23. thegamecocker says: Jan 1, 2013 8:04 PM

    Great game! The Big East referees should be reprimanded for allowing a first down when the measurement was clearly short. Outrageous! Souyh Carolina now has two QB’s for next season. Plus Jadaveon Clowney, Quarles, the Stadniks, etc. Brandon Wilds coming, the “Ace” Sanders, Bruce Ellington,……..scooby- dooooooooo!!!

  24. normtide says: Jan 1, 2013 8:30 PM

    Tt- Bama best Michigan as well, by a much wider margin.

    Grats gamecocks, when you consider all the talent they lost to injuries, this is a special year. A lot of banged up players out there.

  25. irishdodger says: Jan 1, 2013 8:35 PM


    EVERY team has dealt with injuries this year. I’ve never seen a team immune to them.

  26. normtide says: Jan 1, 2013 8:38 PM

    True Irish, but losing a best like Lattimore hurts, and their QB has been hurt all year. But, your right, that hired goiter most teams.

  27. floridacock says: Jan 1, 2013 9:22 PM

    John, True, Bruce Ellington is our basketball point guard, in his spare time, but he is also our leading receiver. little respect please.

  28. ebrownwareagle says: Jan 1, 2013 9:38 PM


    Congratulations Maann! It was a great game.

  29. irishdodger says: Jan 1, 2013 10:27 PM

    Norm, agreed Lattimore was a beast & seems like a class kid. I hope he gets healthy for the NFL.

    I’m sure y’all have been hit w/ injuries too. Barrett Jones is still recovering but should be good for the game. Haven’t heard if Bell will be back. Of course, no team has depth like Bama.

    ND lost three starting DBs …2 before the season even started. That’s why we have a true frosh RB starting at CB and a RS frosh WR playing safety. But, as I said, every team has to cope w/ injuries.

  30. thegamecocker says: Jan 1, 2013 10:57 PM


    Thanks for your comment. It was a great game with lead changing hands a number of times. I will never forget the hit Jadeveon Clowney put on the Michigan RB! That was an epic moment in the game and proved what a talent he is. He has been coached up well at Carolina. If we remain healthy, South Carolina is poised for another successful season. Lot of skill position players returning, plus some red-shirts and recruits. The Head Ball Coach has the program running on all cylinders now. Good luck next season. Looking forward to hearing Paul Feinbaum tomorrow.

  31. hankhillspropanetank says: Jan 1, 2013 11:32 PM

    I flipped to the game while they were measuring for that bs “first down” and luckily I got to see the Clowney play, IMO the best play of the 2012 football season NFL or NCAA. Pure talent no luck involved, I love seeing someone impose their will on an opponent in this case the poor olineman and blow up a play. Clowney now OWNS that poor guy

  32. tuscaloosaguy says: Jan 2, 2013 1:15 AM

    Refs from the Big Least didn’t do well auditioning foe new jobs. Michigan “bookended” by SEC teams. And BTW, awful-barn still hasn’t made a first down this bowl season. Oh, wait, the “barn” played in the first bowl game of the year and lost, 49-0.

  33. Beezo-Doo-doo-Zippity-Bop-bop-bop says: Jan 2, 2013 8:00 AM

    That “most blantant missed call” should be investigated by the FBI. That ref had his own money on the game or is on some mobster’s payroll.

  34. jdesan says: Jan 2, 2013 10:32 AM

    This game shouldn’t have been this close, in spite of the obvious Officials bias. How does UM have an 18 or 19 ranking with their record? Especially no wins over good teams.

    Let’s face it, Hoke isn’t the answer: Career Record: 10 Years, 66-56, .541 W-L% (Major Schools)
    Bowl Record: 3 Bowls, 2-1, .667 W-L% (Major Bowls)
    Major Schools: Ball State (34-38), San Diego State (13-12) and Michigan (19-6)

    This program is too big for him. Even though they have some talent they will not be able to beat top Teams or OSU, especially since Myer is there now.

  35. sweetsweetdrew says: Jan 2, 2013 11:03 AM

    if i were clowney, i would’ve been nervous that the police would’ve arrested me after the game for the attempted murder of vincent smith.

  36. irishayes says: Jan 2, 2013 2:31 PM

    CORRECTION: the B1G 10 has dropped to 2 – 5 this bowl season, not 2 – 4 as reported in the article. They are every bit as bad as everyone speculated.

  37. thraiderskin says: Jan 2, 2013 3:05 PM

    So let me get this straight, one of the bigger stories of the season was how bad the B1G was, something that I agreed with (even as a Buckeye fan), but one of the top teams in the country barely beat michigan? Georgia won a very contested matchup against lowly Nebraska? I thought all these games were supposed to be complete blow outs, I was under the impression the B1G was so far behind, they didn’t even deserve to be there (in the bowl games). Worse of all, our “smart” school, North Western, handed it to Miss St? I’m so confused by these outcomes.

  38. normtide says: Jan 2, 2013 3:13 PM

    SEC > B1G.

    Hope that clears it up.

  39. John Taylor says: Jan 2, 2013 3:16 PM

    “CORRECTION: the B1G 10 has dropped to 2 – 5 this bowl season, not 2 – 4 as reported in the article. They are every bit as bad as everyone speculated.”

    hey, genius, this post was written before the Rose Bowl ended.

  40. immafubared says: Jan 2, 2013 3:53 PM

    My take.
    1. Devin Gardner whom I hoped would have been the starter with Robinson in the backfield looked like he never threw a ball before. He choked.
    2. Gruden and I agreed at the same time, when the hell is the Michigan pass rush? I was worried about bringing back the old boy M network when they hired Hoke. The team looks like old Michigan with big D linemen built to stop the run not rush the passer. Certainly a lack of tall, fast pass rushers on this team.
    3. Coaching staff was hell bent to make sure Denard got his showcase game and it didn’t work. Denard is easily taken down with a one hand tackle. He fooled no one.
    4. Team still not able to defend the pass because they themselves don’t pass much so the D backs are kind of on its own.
    Last, get rid of the defensive coach. This team gave up way too many points this year and many on big easy pass plays to an open man.

  41. immafubared says: Jan 2, 2013 4:01 PM

    Why is it the the Big 10 always looked slow and out coached in these bowl games? Michigan looked like they’ve never been in a bowl before.
    Wisconsin figured, hey we just run Ball all day. Stanford figured hey they will just run Ball all day. Thus, Stanford was well prepared and Wisconsin wasn’t.
    Minnesota can’t beat some high school teams, ditto Purdue so expecting a win from either of them is just folly. No one with talent goes there.
    Nebraska could have won this game but again, with the lead went to the old big ten mold, run twice then pass. All of a sudden Georgia figured that out and it was goodbye Nebraska. Talk about needing defense.

    The big ten was a weak conference this year. Even Ohio State had four late come from behind victories from lowly ranked teams.
    They just seem to be in denial that college football is a passing game supported with running not the opposite.
    maybe its the best QB’s in the country refuse to go to the big ten? Maybe that’s the problem?

  42. thegamecocker says: Jan 3, 2013 8:36 AM


    Michigan played very well and played a tough schedule losing some close games to some very good teams. ‘Bama handled them to start the season, but the Wolverines got better as the season progressed. Yesterdays SC v Mich game was tremendous and both teams played well. But don’t use sarcasm because the bottom line is winning and the BIG is not performing in that regard.

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