Steve, Craig, and Tim welcome you to The Wolverine Den! For a preview of the next game, see below. For a look back (and to see the incriminating pictures), choose a game on the Last Week menu. If you plan on attending a tailgate at The Den for the first time, see the blog menu for Den Law and the house rules to many of the usual tailgate "activities". Click on Buy Gear for TWD shirt! For up to the minute gameday activities, follow us on Twitter! See you on Saturday.
Check out Craig's Pre-Season report on the blog menu or click here.
This Week at The Wolverine Den
South Carolina at Michigan
27th Outback Bowl
Raymond James Stadium
January 1, 2013 - 1 pm ET
The University of Michigan Wolverines will make their NCAA record 42nd bowl appearance on January 1, 2013 in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, FL. This will be Michigan’s 5th trip to the Outback Bowl (tied for the most with Georgia) and the Wolverines hold a 3-1 record in Tampa. The opponent is the South Carolina Gamecocks.
South Carolina finished 3rd in the East Division of the SEC, behind Georgia and Florida. The Gamecocks finished the season 10-2 and ranked #11. They lost back-to-back road games to LSU and Florida as the only blemishes on their record. Steve Spurrier, the old ball coach and former Heisman Trophy winner, is the coach of the Cocks. In his 23 years as a head coach in college football, Spurrier has never matched up against Michigan. His 2-4 bowl record at South Carolina is not impressive. While Spurrier-teams are usually loaded with offense, the 2012 edition of South Carolina is a team built on an aggressive defense. The Gamecocks are 11th in the nation in total defense and yield just 17.4 points per game. The defensive line is led by All-American Jadeveon Clowney, who was 2nd in the nation in both sacks and tackles for loss. Clowney will be primarily matched up against All-American Taylor Lewan. The aggressive nature of the South Carolina defense will require the Wolverines to move the pocket and utilize both Devin and Denard in creative ways.
The Wolverine Den Trivia
Brady Hoke is undefeated at the Big House for his first two seasons as head coach. Who was the last Michigan coach to go undefeated in his first two years?
On offense, South Carolina will likely utilize a two-quarterback system with both Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson seeing time under center. Shaw was the primary starter during the season and brings a dual threat to the Cocks’ offense. But he has been injury prone. Thompson has stepped in late in the season and is more of a pocket passer. The South Carolina rushing attack was dealt a huge blow when All-American Marcus Lattimore went out with a season-ending injury in November. Kenny Miles has filled in as the primary ball carrier but he is nowhere near the force that Lattimore brought to the offense. Wide receivers Ace Sanders and Bruce Ellington are both playmakers and the Gamecocks will look to exploit the void in the Michigan secondary from the suspension of JT Floyd.
It has not been a bad season for Michigan. Their four losses have been to teams with a combined 46-4 record. And each loss was away from the Big House. But the season has been a disappointment in that only once has Michigan not been in position to win. History has shown that a strong bowl performance can elevate a team for the next year. Michigan is in position to have a strong finish and put an exclamation point on the season. To beat a very good South Carolina team, we need to play great team defense while capitalizing on the Devin-Denard tandem. The offensive line will be the key. If we can hold off the rush and create some running lanes, Michigan will score enough to win. The team is motivated to finish the season on a high note.
Michigan and South Carolina have met just twice – with South Carolina winning at Michigan Stadium in 1980 (lead by Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers) and Michigan winning at the “Cockpit” in 1985.
The Wolverines and the Gamecocks are tied in the all-time series 1-1. Michigan is 23-7-1 against the SEC.
Michigan is a 6 point underdog.
Great Moments in Wolverines Bowl History
- 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl: John Kolesar’s TD catch late in the 4th qtr and Jamie Morris’ 234 yards rushing led Michigan past Alabama 28-24.
- 1991 Gator Bowl: Michigan had 715 total yards of offense – a single game team record – in the 35-3 win over Mississippi.
- 1994 Hall of Fame Bowl: Tyrone Wheatley's 103 yard first half led Michigan to a 42-7 win over N.C. State.
- 1999 Citrus Bowl: Ian Gold’s interception and return for a TD in the win 45-31 over Arkansas.
- 2000 Orange Bowl: Tom Brady to David Terrell ten times as Michigan overcomes Alabama to win in OT 35-34.
- 2001 Citrus Bowl: Anthony Thomas led the Wolverines with 182 yards rushing as Michigan to beat Auburn 31-28.
- 2003 Outback Bowl: Chris Perry had 193 yards (108 receiving, 85 rushing) and 4 touchdowns to lead Michigan over Florida 38-30.
- 2008 Capital One Bowl: Chad Henne threw for 373 yards and Michigan beat Heisman-winner Tim Tebow 41-35 in Lloyd Carr’s final game as coach.