Josh Kendall

Here’s the reason South Carolina is an underdog against Michigan

Outback Bowl preview: What to expect from USC's offense

The State's Ben Breiner and Josh Kendall preview the South Carolina football team's Outback Bowl matchup vs. Michigan.
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The State's Ben Breiner and Josh Kendall preview the South Carolina football team's Outback Bowl matchup vs. Michigan.

TAMPA, Fla. – South Carolina is a 7.5-point underdog against Michigan in Monday’s Outback Bowl, which means the Wolverines might only have to score eight points to cover.

The story of the season for the Gamecocks has been their ability to exceed expectations with eight wins in the regular season. The story just behind that one has been how South Carolina has done that despite an offense that is struggling for a second-straight season.

The Gamecocks finished the regular season are 99th in the country in scoring (24.1 ppg) and 108th in total offense (340.2 ypg). That’s a problem against a Michigan defense, which has been daunting this season and particularly problematic for struggling offenses.

Against unranked teams, Michigan has allowed 223.8 yards per game, which is the lowest total in the nation. The Wolverines are allowing 13.5 points to unranked teams this season.

In short, teams that haven’t been very good have been even worse against Michigan’s defense this year. Not very good is an accurate description of South Carolina’s offense this year, which is why offensive coordinator Kurt Roper was fired earlier this month and wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon was promoted to interim offensive coordinator.

McClendon will face a challenging job interview Monday and not many people think he’s going to be successful if the point spread is any indication, which it usually is. It’s not like the Wolverines have a powerful offense. Michigan is 84th in the country in scoring with 25.8 points per game.

Few people expect the Wolverines to score many points in the Outback Bowl. Fewer people expect that the Gamecocks will be able to score more.

Michigan 17, South Carolina 14

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