Michigan Football: Keys to Wolverines Taking Down Gamecocks

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IDecember 18, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 17:  Head coach Brady Hoke looks on from the sideline while playing the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 42-17. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Michigan rightfully enters its game with South Carolina as an underdog, but the Wolverines certainly have the horses to pull off the upset. 

As of Dec. 17, Bet Online has Michigan listed as a 5.5 point underdog. If the Wolverines can execute, and focus on these following three keys, they will emerge victorious in the Outback Bowl.  

Get the Ground Game Going

 If Michigan can't run, it can't win. The Wolverines enter this game with the nation's 13th ranked rushing attack at 221.8 yards per game. 

They will have their work cut out for them in this one. On the season, the Gamecocks have allowed just 3.1 yards per rush. Even in their blowout loss to Florida the Gamecocks allowed just 1.9 yards per carry. 

Michigan's offensive line is going to be the key here. This is a strong group and it must wear down the Gamecocks front seven. Of course, to do this, Brady Hoke and the Wolverines brain trust are going to have to stay committed to the run, even if the results aren't there early. 

Slow Down Jadeveon Clowney

For my money, Jadeveon Clowney is the most talented player in college football. He can be downright unblockable.

His 13 sacks are second in the nation, and he did that despite facing a wealth of attention and in the strong SEC.

The Wolverines have an excellent tackle in AP All-American Taylor Lewan. This will be one of the best one-on-one matchups of the bowl season. Still, Michigan will be wise to help on Clowney. 

The Wolverines can chip him at the line with a tight end, and they can leave a back in to help block. 

However, what will be most vital to Michigan gets back to our first point, and that is it must run right at him. This will slow down his up-the-field pass rush. 

Get Denard the Ball

Denard Robinson might not be the team's best quarterback, but he is still Michigan's best weapon. 

He is dynamic with the ball in his hands, and the Wolverines will surely get him carries. He is the team's leading rusher by a mile and in the two games he did not start at quarterback he combined for 23 carries and 220 yards. 

The Wolverines can't limit his use to just running back though. He needs to get split out wide to run a few routes and some screens where he has the option to run or pass. 

This will help keep the Gamecocks defense spread out, and it will create big play opportunities.