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Outback Bowl 2013: Jadeveon Clowney vs. Denard Robinson Is Season's Best Matchup

South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
South Carolina DE Jadeveon ClowneyStreeter Lecka/Getty Images
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterDecember 28, 2012

Jadeveon Clowney is not short on confidence this bowl season.

The true sophomore defensive end for the South Carolina Gamecocks told ESPN.com this month that he wants to win the Heisman Trophy in 2013, after finishing sixth for the award in 2012.

Stopping the ultra-versatile Denard Robinson in the Outback Bowl would be a good start to Clowney's Heisman campaign, and is one of the top individual matchups of the bowl season.

Robinson's ability as a dual-threat quarterback during his Michigan career has been well-documented. The senior has thrown for 6,250 yards, rushed for 4,395, tossed 49 touchdowns and rushed for 42 touchdowns in four seasons with the Wolverines.

But the end of his Michigan career has been a bit tumultuous. 

He missed two games in early November with an elbow injury, and then played two more games at running back as Devin Gardner—a more accomplished passer—took control of the quarterback position for Brady Hoke's crew.

There has even been some talk during the time off that Michigan may use Robinson as a cornerback, which as my colleague Adam Jacobi points out, is a little bit crazy.

He's a weapon with the ball in his hands, and with a month to rest his elbow, offensive coordinator Al Borges and the rest of the Michigan offensive staff will surely dial up some creative plays for Robinson's final game in the maize and blue.

The visibility and versatility of Robinson will create some interesting matchups against the Gamecocks. If Clowney wants to be a serious candidate for the Heisman Trophy, slowing down Robinson when he has the ball—however he gets the ball—would do wonders for his Heisman stock.

Whether it's as a running back, quarterback or a wide receiver running jet sweeps, Clowney will have to keep tabs on Robinson and show off his ability to control games from the defensive end spot—something SEC fans saw Clowney do on almost a week-in, week-out basis in 2012.

Figuring out where Robinson will line up in the game is a story in and of itself, as is watching how Clowney reacts to the matchup in the unofficial start to his Heisman campaign.

 

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