The final game of the season for South Carolina and Michigan will showcase some of college football’s most talented players. Be sure to keep an eye on these Gamecocks and Wolverines in Monday’s Outback Bowl.
When you hear about this year’s Michigan football team, one of the first things people bring up is how good the Wolverines’ front seven is.
That starts with Chase Winovich. Although the senior defensive end was selected as an All-Big Ten second-team selection, Winovich leads Michigan with eight sacks and 17 tackles for loss. Winovich is a relentless defender who has a nose for the ball. He can be extremely problematic for offensive tackles rushing from the edge. With his ability to make plays, he can be a gamechanger by simply being on the field.
With three starts to his credit this year, Brandon Peters now has the keys to the Wolverines’ offense.
He’s thrown for 486 yards and four touchdowns this year. He’s not an unproven talent for Michigan, but the challenge for him will be playing in the biggest game of his career. The Gamecocks allow about 20 points and just under 228 passing yards per game. If he can remain poised against Carolina’s front seven, he could be a tremendous weapon for the Wolverines.
The second level of Michigan’s defense is led by none other than Devin Bush.
One of three first-team All-Big Ten selections, Bush can do it all for the Wolverines. The sophomore linebacker leads the team with 94 tackles while contributing 9.5 tackles for loss, five sacks, eight pass breakups, and an interception. With his speed and tenacity, he can be difficult to get past. As one of Michigan’s premier defenders, he enhances this front seven with the effort he brings in each play.
Playing in his final collegiate game more than three hours away from his hometown, Moore has the change to etch his name in the Carolina record books with one interception.
Currently, the senior linebacker is tied for the program lead for picks with 11. He also leads the team with 88 tackles. Should Moore finish the contest as the team’s leading tackler, he will become the first Gamecock ever to lead the team in tackles for four consecutive years. Moore’s ability to get to the ball and create takeaways can be key for the Gamecocks. They’ll need him to continue to be a dominant force at his outside linebacker position.
Like Moore, Hurst will play his final game in garnet and black after declaring for the NFL Draft earlier this month.
Hurst has been extremely critical in helping the Gamecocks offense this year. As the team’s second-leading receiver, Hurst has 41 catches for 518 yards and two touchdowns. Hurst has also rushed for a score as well. The question, however, is if Hurst will be able to make plays in the passing game in the Outback Bowl against Michigan. With the Wolverines boasting a talented front seven, Hurst could be asked to stay in to block to protect Jake Bentley. If so, this could be a problem for South Carolina.
Coaches always says their teams have to play well in all three phases of the game -- offense, defense, and special teams – and that also holds true for Carolina. Enter Parker White.
The USC kicker has had his share of struggles with field goals throughout the year and there could be a chance he’s in the spotlight once again. White enters this contest 9-of-10 on field goal attempts less than 40 yards out. On field goal attempts ranging from 40 yards and longer, White is 3-of-12. Still, head coach Will Muschamp and the rest of the Gamecocks have all the faith in the world in White and that’s not going to change now.
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