TAMPA, Fla. - South Carolina posted its second straight 11-win season with a 33-28 victory over Michigan on Tuesday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium. Head coaches Steve Spurrier and Brady Hoke both addressed the media and offered their thoughts as the 2012 season came to a close.
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier has the most bowl wins by any coach in school history with his team's 33-28 victory over Michigan in the Outback Bowl
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier
Opening comments … “This was a wonderful day for the Gamecocks, all of us getting another 11-win season back-to-back. Two years have been very similar, 6-2 in conference play and 11-2 overall. Our seniors, I can’t say enough about those guys; D.J. Swearinger and Shaq Wilson, our two defensive captains, Justice Cunningham and T.J. Johnson our offensive guys, and a lot of juniors provided leadership also. They’ve really sort of showed our young guys how to play football, how to hang in there, keep playing in the fourth quarter. We’ve taken some pretty good pride about winning the fourth quarter. Most of our games this season came down to the fourth quarter and somebody would make a play. Jadeveon Clowney’s play knocking that ball loose after the questionable first down call, I told somebody I’m glad the ref did that now. Jadeveon knocked it loose and we got it and scored to Ace the next play.
A lot of guys played super today. Ace Sanders, most valuable player in the game, three touchdowns and a punt return. He was sensational. He’s down here in Bradenton and you probably wonder how we got him away from Florida and Florida State. They passed on him, said he was too little, but he can play that’s for sure. That was our good fortune that that happened. But he is an excellent player, and then, of course, Bruce Ellington made a play there at the end. I don’t know if I’ve ever given two quarterbacks the game ball. I said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to give it to both you guys.’ Dylan and Connor and game balls to all the seniors to cap the careers that they’ve had here at South Carolina with 38 wins I think it is now, nine and a half average for those guys.
Again, a good win for us in the fact that we scored in the last three minutes there, and we haven’t won one like that since I’ve been here in eight years. So hopefully that will sort of tell us, ‘Hey, we can do that. It’s possible, just hang in there.’ Connor made a heck of a play getting out of a sack and then Dylan got out of a potential sack. And then that last play they sort of gambled and rushed five guys but he took his steps and let it go and Bruce was there. It was a good day, the fans here were tremendous. I keep being reminded by a lot of my buddies, ‘We used to leave at halftime before it was going south on us. We don’t leave anymore.’ So that’s encouraging.
Outback Bowl did everything first class, super. It’s the first Outback Bowl I’ve ever won. Sort of personally greedy, I wanted to win one. I’ve been lucky to win most of these in Florida, but this is the first one of the Outback Bowls.”
On a fourth down measurement late in the game giving Michigan first down: “Well you know what, I asked one of those other refs there, I said, ‘You know the ball did not touch the first down marker.’ He said, ‘I know it didn’t.’ I said, ‘Well, why’d you give it to him,’ and he said, ‘I don’t know.’ That’s what he said.”
On Connor Shaw’s foot injury and Dylan Thompson getting time at quarterback: “His foot was bothering him. He sort of hobbled off and Dylan was right there on call. Obviously there was no hesitation to fire him in there. Both of those young men are so super team oriented. There’s no jealousies; nothing. Even though Dylan went in there and zipped us down the field he knew Connor was coming back in, and Connor was okay when Dylan went back in. Those guys are just really, really good teammates, wonderful team players.”
On the South Carolina offense: “Michigan probably outplayed us overall. Gosh, they had 82 plays to our 52. We had a lot of big plays. We had more yards than them in just 30 less plays. We made some big plays but we left some out there too. We had a couple of drives that didn’t get anything, missed two field goals. Their guy, I think, made all their field goals. It was a game that they probably played a little bit better overall, but we were able to score points, score five touchdowns.”
On defensive end Jadeveon Clowney's hit forcing and recovering a fumble late in the game: “No, he doesn’t hit that hard in practice. We have a rule, don’t clobber teammates, so he doesn’t do that in practice. He’s got that one little slip move and they get nothing but air when they go at him. He did it twice. They end up scoring on that other drive. I told him after the game, ‘I’m glad you hit the quarterback on the last play.’ That kid can throw the ball 70-75 yards at least. He was getting ready to hoist that thing about 80 yards down there it looked like and who knows what could have happened, a bunch of guys jumping around for a ball. So we strongly encourage our guys, please don’t let him throw it if you can. We had a three man rush, three or four, and he was able to get a hit on him.”
On finishing the season with a win: “We hit eight of 10 goals. The team set a whole bunch of goals, which we always do; win eight, nine, 10, 11. Beat Clemson is one of our goals every year and try to win a bowl game and finish in the top 10. WE did not win the division, did not win the SEC, we hit eight of the other 10. Last year’s team did almost the exact same thing. It can be better, it can still be better.”
Michigan head coach Brady Hoke
Opening statement: “There’s a couple things in football that you don’t want to do. Number one, you can’t give up big plays and we had three, really four, big plays in the whole game that you can’t allow to happen. Give them a lot of credit, but at the same time we had a lot of opportunities. The other thing is we give up a big punt return for a touchdown. Those things hurt your football team, obviously it hurts the momentum, morale, and what you want to do. Very proud of our seniors and very proud of our kids that participated and came down here and how the guys have worked all year. We’ve got a long way to go as a football program and as a football team, but our seniors continued to lay some groundwork and a foundation.”
On the Michigan defense giving up big plays: “We missed Shaw one time on a big play. We had him kind of in the backfield. I’d say kind of, not as good as you would like obviously. That one, Raymon (Taylor) thought he was going to intercept the ball. He wasn’t in bad position, the kid made a good play. The one down the middle at the end you’ve got three deep and we just didn’t do a good enough job with it.”
On how well the line blocked Jadeveon Clowney: “We’ve got a pretty good left tackle and he was motivated, probably. I thought he did a nice job and then when he went out with cramps I thought (Michael) Schofield came in and just switched sides and did a nice job. We turned protection to him some and those kinds of things, but I think the matchup itself, I think Taylor (Lewan) and Jadeveon are two competitors and they competed.”
On the overall play of the Michigan defense: “There were three plays I don’t know if we knew what they were going to do. Against the run game I thought our kids played well. I think they did a good job. They had a nice scheme with the replay. They were reading three technique and blocking it out which is something we had not seen a lot from them. That scheme was pretty good for them. But at the same time our kids were prepared well. I think that happens in bowl games a lot. I think Coach Mattison and the defensive staff did a really good job of trying to hone in some things that were a little bit of a wrinkle to do different and also understand what they were doing.”
On receiver Jeremy Gallon’s performance: “Jeremy’s a football player. He runs good routes, he’s tough, he doesn’t shy away from contact or anything. I think it was just something we thought that in some of their man coverage we could get a little bit of a mismatch now and then.”
On gambling with a fake field goal and fake punt in the game: “The blitzes and pressures were all the same, but we had worked that fake punt for nine weeks. The last game you’d better run it, so we had to run it. The banquet’s over with, so we can’t save it for the banquet. It was something that we had seen and liked against multiple teams. We just felt like that was one. Then on the field goal Drew (Dileo) had another second to keep his eyes on (Devin) Funchess and there was nobody on him. But again, Drew saved it by pulling the ball down and being a football play. He did the same thing last year in the Sugar Bowl. He’s a football player. I can’t say enough about how well he plays the game of football. Four downs; I’ve done that most of the year. Our defense is playing pretty good. You mention the big plays, but from the running game standpoint and getting some three and outs, four and outs, they’re hanging in there so you’ve got faith in them.”
On giving up multiple big plays: “It really doesn’t feel very well, but it means that we’ve got to emphasize some things better, you know, deeper than deepest, keep the ball inside and in front.”
On Devin Gardner’s play in the Outback Bowl: “I thought he played pretty well. He handled the situation well. I think it’s another growing experience when you play in big games and good competition. He missed a couple of throws, but that’s usually mechanics as much as anything else, and not stepping through the throw and something like that. He threw the one off the back foot down the field in the middle of the field that I really didn’t want him to do. Other than that I thought he played a good football game.”
On the play of the Michigan defense on South Carolina’s final drive: “I think Greg made some really good calls. I would have liked to see us, when we had a hold of them a couple of times, get them on the ground. We were ready for two minute situations. You study theirs and you know some of the things that they like to do because coaches kind of believe in certain things.”
On the impact of Jadeveon Clowney’s forced fumble: “It’s a big play. We had just gotten the ball on a fake punt, so timing and all that, it was a big play.”
On what the Wolverines need to improve going forward: “Multiple things; being able to run the ball and line of scrimmage play, both sides of the ball. Taking care of the football better. Playing good defense when you need to at the end of a game. Don’t take that wrong, I’m proud off the kids. I’m real proud. They worked their tails off and we’re going to miss a group of seniors, their attitude and what they’ve done for Michigan. They all know what the expectations are, that’s why you go to Michigan, that’s why you play at Michigan.”