The Gamecocks scored 20 points in a span of fewer than six minutes, flipping the 16-point deficit into a 23-19 lead with 11:33 to play.
The Wolverines, which led 19-3 in the third quarter, surrendered 23 unanswered points in the final 17 minutes, 25 seconds to lose 26-19 to SC.
Quinn Nordin went 3 of 3 on field goals for all of the Wolverines’ first-half points.
Bentley, after Peters fumbled the football on an exchange, hit Bryan Edwards for a 21-yard touchdown on South Carolina’s next drive.
That drive ended with a fumble by Sarasota Riverview alumnus Karan Higdon inside the 5, but the Gamecocks punted from their own end zone after a three-and-out series, setting up Nordins 48-yard field goal. The Gamecocks converted two of them into touchdowns. All of a sudden, SC was within three. SC converted the turnover into a one-play touchdown on Jake Bentley’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Edwards. But there likely will not be almost as many changes as this season when MI returned the fewest starters (six) of any FBS program in the country. However, South Carolina didn’t go down without a fight, making the Wolverines fight for a victory late in the game.
Big Ten teams covered the spread in six of their first seven bowls, suggesting they exceeded expectations regardless of opponent strength.
The defense would hold from there as Jamarcus King and Steven Montac each had interceptions to help preserve the win.
Bentley caught fire in the second half, going 19-for-32 for 239 yards, including tossing the go-ahead score in the form of a beautifully placed ball to Shi Smith that went for 53 yards.
MI aims to avoid its first three-game losing streak under coach Jim Harbaugh. The last play was a fitting end.
Brandon Peters had a tough day for MI, completing 20 of 44 passes for 186 yards and two interceptions.
The loss also cost the Big Ten a clean sweep of bowl games involving conference members.
The 2018 Outback Bowl marks Carolina’s 22nd bowl appearance. MI finished the season 8-4 with a 5-4 record in the Big Ten.
South Carolina’s quick turnaround is certainly worth noting, but the bigger story is MI.
Brunson finished the game with 13 tackles, 9 unassisted, and 2 for loss, to lead a SC defense that stifled MI and enabled the Gamecocks to rally for the victory with the final 23 points of the game.