Outback heartbreak: Michigan comes close, but suffers crushing 33-28 loss to South Carolina in the Outback Bowl
TAMPA, Fla. -- Michigan opened its 2012 season with an SEC embarrassment.
It closed the year with an SEC heartbreak.
South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson hit wide receiver Bruce Ellington with a 32-yard touchdown pass with just 11 seconds to go, breaking Michigan's heart in Florida and handing the Wolverines a stunning 33-28 loss in the 2013 Outback Bowl.
Michigan finishes the season 8-5, marking the fourth time in five years the Wolverines have finished the year with at least five losses.
It was also the second loss of the year against the Southeastern Conference, as Michigan was thumped by Alabama in the season opener.
Ellington's touchdown catch capped an 11-play, 70-yard drive just minutes after Jeremy Gallon hauled in a 17-yard touchdown pass to give the Wolverines a one-point lead with just 3:29 to play.
The lead changed hands four times in the second half -- with South Carolina getting the last laugh.
The Gamecocks throttled Michigan through the air all afternoon -- finishing 25 of 36 through the air for 341 yards.
Michigan has now lost six of its last eight bowl games dating back to 2003.
-- Michigan's pass defense was terrible. Connor Shaw finished 19 of 27 for 227 yards and two scores, while Dylan Thompson went 7 of 9 for 117 yards and two scores.
--Big plays were a killer in this one. Ellington's touchdown was just one of the brutal big-play bombs South Carolina uncorked. The Gamecocks got a 56-yard touchdown pass in the first half, and a 63-yard punt return for a score as well.
-- Gardner finished the game 19 of 34 for 214 yards and three touchdowns, but missed a lot of open receivers throughout the afternoon.
-- Michigan committed three personal fouls on the day.
-- In his final game at Michigan, Denard Robinson broke the NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback. Robinson, who worked mainly as a running back Tuesday, finished with 100 yards on 23 carries -- giving him 4,495 for his career.
-- Jeremy Gallon was terrific -- catching a career-high 9 balls for 145 yards and two scores.
-- Matt Wile's 52-yard field goal was an Outback Bowl record.
How deflating is this loss, and was this season a disappointment?
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