Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon Shows That He's the Real Deal in Outback Bowl
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Michigan Wolverines followers knew about Jeremy Gallon.
Big Ten fans knew about the crafty junior, too.
However, it took a 33-28 Outback Bowl loss on New Year's Day to the 10th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks for the nation to really see just how elusive Gallon was.
Had quarterback Devin Gardner been more accurate in the early goings, Gallon would have compiled at least 200 receiving yards, a dozen catches and three or four touchdowns against a stout Gamecocks secondary led by D.J. Swearinger, a safety with an NFL-level skill set.
Instead, due to the miscues, he finished with a solid line of 145 yards, two touchdowns and nine catches.
Gallon made the most of his first target from Gardner, rattling off a 13-yard reception on first down that swept the Wolverines near midfield in the first quarter. The Gardner-Gallon connection looked like it was clicking.
Yards, and lots of them, were on the horizon.
How impressed were you by Gallon in the Outback Bowl?
Just two plays later, Gardner sent a missile to Gallon, who turned it into a 26-yard gain. Gardner was 2-for-2 when looking for his favorite receiver. The chemistry was there.
On a career highlight-worthy tear, Gallon snagged 14- and 21-yard catches as the Wolverines faced a 21-13 deficit just prior to halftime. His pace was incredible. He couldn't be stopped.
Gardner missed Gallon a couple of times earlier in the game, but the three consecutive whiffs after the 14- and 21-yard connections really hurt Michigan in the long run. Gallon couldn't have been more wide open on the edge for two of those throws.
And Gardner couldn't have been more off with his throws, a few of which would have been difficult for Calvin Johnson to handle.
It was no surprise seeing Gallon use his quickness and exceptional set of hands to exploit the holes in South Carolina's secondary. As the Big Ten's fourth-leading receiver in yards per game (63.8), Gallon pestered quality in-conference defensive backs all season.
Of course he was going to show a little something to his friends in the SEC.
Short throws to the sideline resulted in long gallops from Gallon. His season-long 71-yard touchdown came on a sideline route—his legs did the rest. Those links between Gardner and Gallon will be an essential component in Michigan's offense next season.
Will Gallon be Big Ten's best -- or one of -- next year?
Gardner was the popular name late in the season. Michigan fans loved discussing his potential at the quarterback position, fondly gazing into the future and wondering just how well he'll work with receivers this fall.
But Gallon should be a player to command the same type of attention. While on a national stage, he had one of the finest games with the Wolverines. His stock among Big Ten followers should have skyrocketed.
Want a name for best Big Ten wideout in 2013? How does "Jeremy Gallon" sound?
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
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