By: Phillip Lutz, Sports Editor
It was not pretty.
It did not go well for the Wolverines.
Michigan came into the Outback Bowl as the favorite to beat the South Carolina Gamecocks, but beat themselves instead in a 26-19 defeat.
The Wolverines (8-5) blew a 19-3 lead in the second half, frustrating coach Jim Harbaugh.
“We’ll look at all areas,” Harbaugh said in a straight tone.
The first half was won by the Wolverines but that would quickly change. Michigan would turn the ball over five times in the game, tying an Outback Bowl record.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Peters looked frazzled and out of place leading the offense Monday.
The patchwork offensive line that was down three starters played well, but the defensive front of the Gamecocks were better. Peters was sacked two times.
Peters had a rough game in what may act as an audition for the starting job in the 2018 season. He completed 20 of the 44 passes he attempted for 186 yards. He also threw two interceptions.
Karan Higdon was the lone dim light for the Wolverines as he rushed 17 times for 65 total yards. Chris Evans added nine rushes of his own. He gained 24 total yards.
Freshman Fullback Ben Mason scored the only touchdown for the Wolverines on a one-yard scamper.
The Michigan defense was solid as has been the norm this season. Viper linebacker Khaleke Hudson had another solid performance as he had 10 total tackles. He also had a sack and two pass breakups.
Senior linebacker Mike McCray had a good game as he had nine total tackles including four tackles for loss. Defensive lineman Rashan Gary had a dominant performance as he recorded five total tackles including a sack.
Chase Winovich was like a man with flaming hair as he had three total tackles. Noah Furbush had an interception and he took it for a 27 yard scramble afterwards.
The Wolverines were plagued with turnovers and bad play calling all day. They could not get things right at all in the second half of the game.
Coach Jim Harbaugh blamed himself and his staff for the loss, saying that “the team played really tough.”
Michigan finished the season at 8-5, a step back from a double-digit win season last year.
“It will be tough to get over this one, but it will take some time,” said starter Mason Cole. “They will move on from it.”