South Carolina and Michigan will face off for just the third time in the school's history as both teams were selected this past Sunday to participate in the Outback Bowl held on January 1st, 2013.
The series is tied 1-1 with South Carolina's lone win coming in 1980 during a 17-14 win for the Gamecocks in Ann Arbor.
These two teams aren't too familiar with each other but the recent success from the Gamecocks certainly gives Michigan head coach Brady Hoke enough to know that he's got his hands full starting with the defensive line led by All-American candidate Jadeveon Clowney.
"I know they have a really good front and I know that from a defensive perspective they gave up 17 points a game -- very athletic," Brady said on Monday. "They lost I think at Florida and at LSU, so their two losses were on the road against two pretty good football teams."
South Carolina's offense is another aspect that Hoke and the Wolverines will have to prepare for but which quarterback will be handed the reigns is the question. Starter Connor Shaw has suffered from a nagging foot injury that forced him to sit out the Clemson game. His replacement, Dylan Thompson, threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns in his absence.
It's expected that Shaw will return to full health while resting for most of the bowl season, but South Carolina does have a viable option waiting in the wings just in case.
Shaw's mobility could be useful for the Gamecocks against Michigan as they are giving up 156.0 yards per game on the ground, which is more than they allow through the air.
Hoke thinks Shaw has done a nice job at quarterback but they've just began to break down the Gamecocks for the upcoming bowl game.
"Offensively, the quarterback has done a nice job, and I think Coach [Spurrier] is a hard guy to please at that position. Obviously, Lattimore won't play, and that is a shame because he is one of the great football players in this country, but from that standpoint, we just started breaking them down."
Hoke's players also had some thoughts on the Gamecocks during the bowl game press conference.
"It's an honor to be playing in the Outback Bowl, and it's an honor to be playing against South Carolina," said senior quarterback Denard Robinson. "That's a great team, we know that's a great team, and we're going to get another opportunity to play."
The Gamecocks have the respect of the Wolverines. It appears that the Wolverines have the same for the Gamecocks.
As Coach Spurrier said on Sunday, "It should be a heck of a game and we're looking forward to it."
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