Outback Bowl 2013: Stingy Defense Will Boost South Carolina over Michigan

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJanuary 1, 2013

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 24:  Head coach Steve Spurrier celebrates with his team after defeating the Clemson Tigers 27-17 at Memorial Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

South Carolina not only has a stingy defense, but the Gamecocks can also stunt Michigan's greatest strength.

It will lead to a South Carolina victory in the 2013 Outback Bowl.

Michigan has scored most of its points with its running game this season, averaging 4.92 yards per carry (tied for 33rd in the nation, via CFBStats.com) and posting 27 rushing touchdowns.

The Wolverines have mainly been using dual-threat Denard Robinson since junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint suffered a broken left leg against Iowa on Nov. 17. Robinson has been dynamic in the last two games against Iowa and Ohio State, rushing for a combined 220 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries while junior Devin Gardner has taken over under center.

But the Gamecocks have not only allowed just 3.11 yards per carry (ninth in the nation) and nine rushing touchdowns (tied for sixth) this season, they also have shown they can stop dual-threats like Robinson...as recently as their final regular-season game.

In the 27-17 victory over then-No. 11 Clemson on Nov. 24, South Carolina held dual-threat quarterback Tajh Boyd to 26 rushing yards on 17 carries.

Sure, Boyd is still no Denard Robinson when it comes to running the pigskin, but the point is the Gamecocks will have a plan in place to limit Robinson in the Outback Bowl and they've shown they can execute that plan effectively this season.

That will be pivotal because the Gamecocks likely won't score a lot of points themselves against a Michigan defense allowing 18.8 points per contest, especially given their running game has not been the same since losing star Marcus Lattimore against Tennessee on Oct. 27.

As usual, the Wolverines will win or lose depending on Robinson's play in the 2013 Outback Bowl. And, by all indications, Robinson will be limited going up against the Gamecocks.

What are your thoughts?

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