Tampa, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Dylan Thompson connected a 32-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington with 11 seconds left to carry No. 11 South Carolina to a 33-28 victory over No. 19 Michigan in the Outback Bowl Tuesday at Raymond Jones Stadium.
Thompson replaced starter Connor Shaw and finished what he started, leading the last 43 yards of the game-winning 11-play, 70-yard drive to help South Carolina finish the season with an 11-2 record, matching last year’s win total and school record.
Head coach Steve Spurrier won his third bowl at South Carolina as well to set a school record by a Gamecock coach.
Spurrier’s game plan of using both Shaw and Thompson worked perfectly as both quarterbacks successfully worked their way through the Wolverines defense.
Shaw finished 18-for-26 for 224 yards in the air and a pair of touchdowns while Thompson was 7-for-10 for 117 yards as well as two scores.
Shaw also led the Gamecocks’ rushing corps with 96 yards on 10 carries while junior wide receiver Ace Sanders caught nine passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns receptions as well as 63-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Devin Gardner completed 18 of 35 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns for the Wolverines (8-5), who were 0-4 against ranked teams while they defeated eight of nine unranked opponents by almost 20 points per contest.
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries to finish his four-year career with 4,495 rushing yards, setting an NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback, passing former West Virginia quarterback Pat White’s record of 4,480 yards.
Jeremy Gallon had a career-high nine catches for 145 yards to go along with his two touchdowns for Michigan.
The Gamecocks stormed to a 14-3 lead in the first period behind Shaw’s 56-yard touchdown pass to Damiere Byrd and a 63-yard punt return by Sanders.
In the second, Michigan made it 14-10 after Gardner found Drew Dileo for a five-yard touchdown pass but Thompson responded with a four-yard scoring throw to Sanders.
Brennan Gibbons capped the second quarter with a 40-yard field goal to bring the Wolverines within striking distance, 21-13.
The Wolverines scored nine points in the third to take a 22-21 lead but Shaw threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Sanders to give the Gamecocks a 27-22 advantage.
Then, Gardner found Gallon for a 17-yard touchdown pass but failed on a two-point conversion attempt, paving the way for the Gamecocks’ game-winning drive.