SEC: Taylor Lewan

Pregame: Outback Bowl

January, 1, 2013
1/01/13
11:08
AM ET
Michigan (8-4, 6-2 Big Ten) vs. South Carolina (10-2, 6-2 SEC)

Who to watch: South Carolina sophomore defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Against a somewhat suspect Michigan offensive line -- other than future NFL first-round tackle Taylor Lewan -- Clowney could have a huge day. He tied for second in the FBS with 13 sacks, and was second in tackles for loss (21.5, 1.95 per game). Between the Wolverines’ line and a running game which rarely produced this season, this sets up well for Clowney.

What to watch: Michigan’s offense. One of the bigger questions for the Wolverines is where senior Denard Robinson will line up and how often. Michigan likely plans on using Robinson at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. In addition to it being Robinson’s last college game -- and a potential preview of what he’ll try to do in the NFL -- he needs 85 rushing yards to tie former West Virginia quarterback Pat White for the FBS quarterback rushing record.

Why to watch: Besides the NFL-level matchup between Clowney and Lewan and the potential explosiveness in Robinson’s last game, this could be a chance to see South Carolina, one of the more promising teams next year, jump-start a run for the 2013 season. The Gamecocks should return most of their offense next season, along with Clowney and a few others on defense, which could set them up for another successful year in the SEC. On the Michigan side, if quarterback Devin Gardner has a good day -- he’s averaged 251.25 yards passing in his four starts -- it could set him up for a special 2013 season.

Prediction: While Michigan’s offense could be very fun to watch and explosive with Robinson moving all over the field, the Wolverines still have the same issues with their running backs and offensive line that they’ve had all season long. Add into that a secondary missing starting cornerback J.T. Floyd because of suspension, and it could be a tough day for Michigan. Gardner and Robinson keep it close on offense, but South Carolina has too much. South Carolina 24, Michigan 17.

South Carolina bowl X factor

January, 1, 2013
1/01/13
10:00
AM ET
We're taking a look at South Carolina's X factor against Michigan in today's Outback Bowl:

X FACTOR

Kelcy Quarles, So., DT: Sure, Denard Robinson isn't set to start at quarterback for the Wolverines, but Devin Gardner knows how to make a play or two. And Robinson should get some time at quarterback -- along with other positions. That means putting pressure on Michigan's backfield is going to be a big deal for the Gamecocks' defense. Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will be expected to lead South Carolina's pass rush, but he's going to need some of the pressure taken off of him. He'll be battling All-American tackle Taylor Lewan, who should even give Clowney fits at times today. So, Quarles, who has been nicked up here and there this season will have to provide some extra pressure up the middle in order to help out Clowney on the edge. Devin Taylor should help on the other side of Clowney, but the Gamecocks want to get some nice push through the center of the line from Quarles in order to shake up the pass and the run, as the Wolverines are rushing for 187.3 yards per game. He tallied seven tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks and if he can become a nuisance in the middle, it will free Clowney from potential double teams. Dealing with Lewan will be enough for Clowney, so he doesn't need to worry about another big body coming his way. Getting pressure on that explosive backfield will be key for this defense. Michigan didn't exactly flourish the last time it faced pressure from an opposing SEC defense.

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