2017 Outback Bowl – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa FL

Posted In: Sports, , National Sports,   From Issue 857   By: Richard Curry

22nd February, 2018     0

After getting a press pass for this game, I was pumped and ready to go.  It wasn’t until I stepped on the field at 42° and 20 mph winds with rain bouncing off my camera that it soon sucked totally.  The 8-4 University of Michigan Wolverines gave away a 19 to 3 lead and lost to the South Carolina Game Cocks (now 9-4) 26 -19.  Sophomore Jake Bentley, South Carolina QB was 19 for 32 with 1 Interception and 239 yards passing.  He completed a 21-yard pass to Bryan Edwards and a spectacular 53-yard pass to Shi Smith.  Jake in two years has a 63.6 career passing completion record and is going to be something next year.

In the press conference Jake was asked about receiving the MVP Trophy and went on to say he was turning it over to his team.  “They deserved it not me.”  Speaking of turning over, Michigan turned the ball over 5 times which lead to their loss.  In speaking of their losses, they lost this game to South Carolina, MSU beat them 14 -10, Penn State 32-17, Wisconsin 24-10, and Ohio State 31-20.  The only scoring that Michigan could muster was Quinn Nordin who made field goals of 35, 26, 45 & 48 yards.  Then Ben Mason ran one yard for the only Michigan touchdown.  At times this team looks as inept as a lawyer opposing Perry Mason in court.

Michigan’s loss was the only one by a Big Ten team among eight bowl games.  This left Michigan with a 21-24 Bowl record.  I went to the press conference and a shocked Jim Harbough had to answer some tough questions.  One of the reporters asked Jim if the firing of the NFL coaches would have him going back.  Jim Harbough gave him the “Jim Harbough stare”, that would have scared me, with an emphatic “NO!”.  His heart is in Ann Arbor and he can turn this program back on the right track.  If he gets a healthy competent QB.  Next year’s QBS are Peters, Shey Patterson a transfer from Mississippi (this will likely be the starter) and Dylan McCaffrey.  During the press conference South Carolina Coach Will Muschamp came to the podium.  Will was the University of Florida coach where he was not too successful.  But he sure has been in Columbia SC.  Having won 15 games in his first 2 seasons.

When MSU was denied the trip to the Outback Bowl there was a lot of complaints.  But I have to agree to it financially because Michigan brought a tremendous number of fans to the Tampa area.  But MSU did deserve to be there.  They beat Michigan and had a better record.  The biggest boo of the game was showing a young lady wearing a MSU hoodie on the large scoreboard. My person of the day – the Orange Haired U of M defensive player Chase Winovich.  Chase did it to honor former Coach Lloyd Carr’s grandson who died of childhood brain cancer.  Chase is a very energetic and one fine football player. 

 Will Muschamp told the reporters his team is filled with freshman and sophomores and the next couple of seasons should be fun.  His Game Cocks are already rated second in the SEC for the next year.  Two quotes from the podium that stuck with me when I left: Coach Muschamp “We play well in close games” and Coach Harbough:  ”We don’t finish teams off when we have them down.”   This was the answer to this game.

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