That wasn’t the ideal way to go into the most important off-season of Harbaugh’s early tenure in Ann Arbor. Michigan came out of the gate flat as can be on offense but Don Brown’s orange mustache and defensive scheme were able to completely shutdown South Carolina. Brandon Peters and the running game were able to convert a couple drives to give the Wolverines, what looked like, an insurmountable 16-3 lead. But, like what has happened all season long, the wheels came off completely.
It all went down hill when Karan Higdon coughed up the ball at the five yard line just after Noah Furbush picked off a pass, set up the offense with great field position and it looked like Michigan was about to put the final nail in the coffin. From that point, Michigan kicked a field goal on its next drive and then turned the ball over five times and was outscored 23-0 to end the game.
That implosion included a horrible interception from Brandon Peters in the end zone when Michigan was looking to take the lead back in the third quarter, as well as some more bland, imagination lacking, unsuccessful play calls from the coaching staff. The lack of ball control and ability to sustain any drives ended up back firing as the defense broke down and South Carolina’s Jake Bentley was able to hit on some big throws and lead the Gamecocks to a big comeback.
It was arguably the worst loss in a season with several bad losses. With Shea Patterson coming to town, offensive coaching changes expected and expectations sky high in year four of the tenure, this truly will be the most important off-season of Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan coaching career thus far. We’ll see if the Wolverines can bounce back from a disappointing 8-5 season.
- K Quinn Nordin
- Showing off his big leg, Wild Thing haircut and crotch to the country, Nordin made sure he’ll be one of the most talked about players in each game throughout his time at Michigan. He went 4/4 on his field goal attempts, which includes smoothing a 48-yarder and grabbing his crotch while shouting at the South Carolina bench after Will Muschamp tried to freeze him with a timeout. It wasn’t his best moment and it’ll go down alongside his recruiting sleepover with Jim Harbaugh as his most talked about tid-bit from announcers each and every game.
- DT Mo Hurst
- In his final performance as a Michigan Wolverine, Hurst flashed his talent, like he has all season long, by absolutely dominating South Carolina’s interior offensive line. Though he was only credited with one tackle, he made his presence felt by blowing up several plays by driving his guy into the backfield or getting hits on the quarterback. It wasn’t a game he needed to play but it once again proved that he should be a top-15 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
- VLB Khaleke Hudson
- Hudson put on a show in the season finale. He racked up 10 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackles-for-loss and 2 pass deflections, showing again that he’s one of the top players in this defense. With him growing more and more into the Viper role, his 2018 outlook will be sky high.
- CB David Long
- Speaking of top players on Michigan’s 2018 defense, Long continues to show out. He led the Big Ten in lowest passer rating against him by a substantial margin and improved his percentage on the season even more by not allowing a reception on his three targets and adding two pass break ups to the stat sheet. Alongside Lavert Hill, the cornerback position is one coaches and fans won’t have to worry about going into next season.
Photo Credit: Marc-Gregor Campredon/MGoBlog