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Having survived the coaching carousel with Mike Gundy still at the helm, Oklahoma State will be looking for its third straight bowl win and fifth in the last seven seasons. Purdue was not quite as lucky when it came to the coaching turnover and will be led by interim Patrick Higgins after coach Danny Hope was let go. Former Kent State coach Darrell Hazell will take over the program after the contest.
The Cowboys suffered four of their five losses on the road this season but will be playing close enough to home in Dallas that they should be able to get the crowd behind them. Either way, the game will likely turn into a shootout. Oklahoma State was fourth in the nation in scoring (44.7 points) during the regular season while the Boilermakers averaged a shade less than 30 points and blasted Indiana 56-35 in their final game to become bowl eligible.
Purdue senior quarterback Robert Marve passed for seven touchdowns and one interception during the three-game winning streak that closed the regular season and will be getting a chance to shred a Cowboys' secondary that allowed 285.7 yards in the regular season. The Boilermakers’ bigger deficiency is against the run, where Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle could do some damage.
This game is ugly and the biggest line of the bowl season...Purdue is awful and this game is on at the same time as the Gator bowl so you have something else to watch. Should sleep through the hangover and miss this game.
ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA (10-2, 6-2 SEC, 8-4 ATS): The Gamecocks, who posted consecutive seasons with double-digit victories for the first time in school history, will be playing in the Outback Bowl for the fourth time and seeking consecutive bowl wins for the first time in school history. Coach Steve Spurrier has yet to name a starter at quarterback position after Dylan Thompson threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns in place of the injured Connor Shaw during the Gamecocks’ 27-17 regular-season finale win at Clemson. The Gamecocks are 17-2 against non-conference opponents over the last four years, with their last such loss coming to Florida State in the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl.
ABOUT MICHIGAN (8-4, 6-2 Big Ten, 5-7 ATS): While neutralizing Clowney will play a key role in determining their success, the Wolverines’ may be up to the task of limiting his effectiveness after their offensive line allowed a Big Ten-low 15 sacks. The Wolverines’ second-ranked pass defense could be tested in this game after starting cornerback J.T. Floyd was one of three players suspended for this game because of a violation of team rules; punter Will Hagerup and backup linebacker Brandin Hawthorne were the others. The loss of Floyd could loom large against receivers Ace Sanders and Bruce Ellington, who have each posted 100 yards receiving in a game since Lattimore went down.
The Wolverines own a 20-21 all-time bowl record and are playing in a January bowl game for the 14th time in the past 16 bowl trips. The 20 victories rank 14th all-time for bowl wins, while the program’s 42 postseason appearances are 11th among BCS conference institutions. This will be the fifth time that U-M plays in the Outback Bowl as the Wolverines own a 3-1 all-time mark in four previous Outback/Hall of Fame Bowl appearances (1988, 1994, 1997, 2003). Michigan has compiled a 7-4 record all-time against the SEC in bowl games. The most recent bowl matchup with the SEC came in the 2011 Gator Bowl, a 52-14 loss to Mississippi State on New Year’s Day. Prior to that meeting, U-M earned a 41-35 victory over Florida in the 2008 Capital One Bowl. U-M has a 23-7-1 all-time record against schools from the SEC.
South Carolina followed up a school-record 11-win season in 2011 with another 10-win season in 2012. It’s the first time Carolina has logged back-to-back double-digit winning seasons, and just the third 10-win campaign in school history. This is the Gamecocks’ fourth trip to the Outback Bowl. They are 2-1 in previous Outback Bowls, defeating Ohio State in back-to-back years in 2001 (24-7) and 2002 (31-28), before falling to Iowa in the 2009 contest by a 31-10 score. The 2013 Outback Bowl marks Carolina’s 18th bowl appearance as the Gamecocks are 5-12 all-time in the postseason. They dropped their first eight bowl games, won three straight, lost four of the next five, and captured last year’s Capital One Bowl. The Gamecocks are 4-9 all-time against teams that currently comprise the Big Ten, although that includes an 0-3 record against Nebraska and 0-2 mark versus Penn State prior to the schools joining the conference.
Key matchup: South Carolina QB’s Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson against the Michigan defense, which ranks second in the nation against the pass (155.2 yards per game. Michigan standout left tackle Taylor Lewan vs. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who has 13 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss. It’s an All-American matchup.
South Carolina is trying to close out the most successful three-year run with the second 11-win season in school history. The Gamecocks, who've won four straight after consecutive losses to LSU and Florida derailed hopes of playing for the Southeastern Conference title, won 11 games for the first time last season. Michigan is trying to avoid ending a two-game losing streak. Three of the Wolverines' four losses came against the top three teams in the Associated Press poll - Notre Dame, Alabama and Ohio State - heading into the postseason.