Saturday, January 13, 2018

FFXIV: The Good, The Bad, And The Kahori

#FFXIV #Stormblood #Naadam #KahoriHarukawa #saimoe

Monday, January 08, 2018

Alabama: NCAA 2017 Division I FBS National Champions



ATLANTA -- Tua Tagovailoa threw a 41-yard touchdown to DeVonta Smith to give No. 4 Alabama a 26-23 overtime victory against No. 3 Georgia to win the College Football Playoff national championship Monday night.

Tagovailoa entered the game at halftime, replacing a struggling Jalen Hurts, and threw three touchdown passes, including the game-ender to give the Crimson Tide its fifth national championship since 2009 under coach Nick Saban.

After Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos missed a 36-yard field goal that would have won it for the Tide (13-1) in the final seconds of regulation, Georgia (13-2) took the lead with a 51-yard field goal from Rodrigo Blankenship in overtime.

Tagovailoa took a terrible sack on Alabama's first play of overtime, losing 16 yards. On the next play he found Smith, another freshman, streaking down the sideline and hit him in stride for the national championship.

This game will be remembered for Saban's decision to change quarterbacks trailing 13-0.

"I just thought we had to throw the ball, and I felt he could do it better, and he did," Saban said. "He did a good job, made some plays in the passing game. Just a great win. I'm so happy for Alabama fans. Great for our players. Unbelievable."

What was he thinking as the winning pass soared?

"I could not believe it," Saban said. "There's lots of highs and lows. Last year we lost on the last play of the game and this year we won on the last play of the game. These kids really responded the right way. We said last year, `Don't waste the feeling.' They sure didn't, the way they played tonight."

Saban now has six major poll national championships, including one at LSU, matching the record set by the man who led Alabama's last dynasty, coach Paul Bear Bryant.

This one was nothing like the others.

The all-Southeastern Conference matchup was all Georgia in the first half before Saban pulled Hurts and went with the five-star recruit from Hawaii to start the second half.

The Tide trailed 13-0 at halftime and 20-7 in the third quarter after Georgia's freshman quarterback, Jake Fromm, hit Mecole Hardman for an 80-yard touchdown pass that had the Georgia fans feeling good about ending a national title drought that dates back to 1980.

A little less than a year after the Atlanta Falcons blew a 25-point lead and lost in overtime to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, there was more pain for many of the local fans. With the title game being held 70 miles from Georgia's campus in Athens, Dawg fans packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but it turned out to be sweet home for Alabama.

It was not without angst.

Alabama drove into the red zone in the final minute and Saban started playing for a field goal that would end the game and win it for the Tide. A nervous quiet gripped the crowd of 77,430 as `Bama burned the clock. With the ball centered in the middle of the field, Pappanastos lined up for a kick to win the national championship. The snap and hold looked fine, but the kicked missed badly to the left.

For the second straight week, Georgia was going to overtime. The Bulldogs beat Oklahoma in a wild Rose Bowl in double overtime to get here, and after Jonathan Ledbetter and Davin Bellamy sacked Tagovailoa for a big loss on the first play, Alabama was in trouble -- second-and-26.

Not for long. Tagovailoa looked off the safety threw the biggest touchdown pass in the history of Alabama football.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

North Dakota State: 2017 NCAA Division I FCS National Champions



FRISCO, Texas (STATS) -- They saved the best for last in the FCS this season.

Add in the unmatched intensity and physicality and the 40th FCS championship game showed why it was one of the most anticipated in history.

North Dakota State returned to its familiar throne atop the subdivision with a 17-13 victory over defending champion James Madison before 19,090 at Toyota Stadium on Saturday, but not before the Bison gave a nod of respect across the line of scrimmage to a Dukes program that had stopped their run of five straight national titles last season.

While ending top-seeded James Madison's 26-game winning streak, North Dakota State (14-1) made it six championships in seven years, tying Georgia Southern for the most in FCS history. The Dukes dropped to 14-1 with the loss.

"A lot of institutions can have a great team here or there, but those are two great programs," fourth-year Bison coach Chris Klieman said.

"One thing we talk about all the time is leaving a legacy. How are you going to be remembered? The 2017 Bison are going to be remembered as a group of guys that had great resolve, smacks adversity right in the face when adversity hit us and, lo and behold, we became national champions for the sixth time in seven years."

The game was nothing short of epic.

The Bison, the Missouri Valley Conference champs and No. 2 playoff seed, built a 17-6 halftime lead, scoring twice off turnovers, and then desperately held on in the final 30 minutes after Marcus Marshall's 1-yard touchdown run early in the third. Fittingly, James Madison had a late drive with a chance to take the lead, but after punter Harry O'Kelly's 24-yard run on a fake kept it alive, the Dukes didn't make it past the Bison 18.

Under heavy pressure on fourth down, Dukes quarterback Bryan Schor heaved a high-arching pass to the North Dakota State goal line, but the ball was knocked to the ground. The Bison then ran out the final 58 seconds.

The Bison employed two new starting cornerbacks because of injury, so Schor attacked the secondary, but he was continually scrambling against the NDSU pass rush. Sacked four times, including twice by defensive end Derrek Tuszka, Schor was 14 of 32 for 148 yards with a pair of interceptions and no touchdowns.

"We found a way to play red zone defense, which is a staple for us," Klieman said. "I say this all the time, field goals aren't going to beat you."

Said James Madison coach Mike Houston: "They made the plays. We made too many mistakes."

Bison junior quarterback Easton Stick was named the game's most outstanding player, totaling 165 yards of offense, including a 50-yard touchdown pass to Darrius Shepherd in the second quarter.

In the bruising matchup of the two best defenses in the FCS, the Stick-to-Shepherd score was the biggest offensive play of the game. On 3rd-and-17 from midfield, Shepherd slipped behind the James Madison secondary and Stick lofted a pass to him at the 10, which Shepherd turned into his first touchdown of the season and a 14-3 Bison lead with 4:14 left in the half. It marked the first time all season the Dukes trailed by double digits.

"Great time to get a first," Klieman said.

"We got the coverage that we wanted and really it was all on Darrius running away from that backside safety," Stick said. "Offensive line protected really well, (running back) Lance (Dunn) sold the fake well and Darrius was able to run underneath it and get us in the end zone. That was a huge play for us."

James Madison scored on its first possession of the third quarter to close within 17-13. D'Angelo Amos' 33-yard punt return to the Bison 33 set up the drive and Marshall capped it with a 1-yard run.

As the two powers combined for only 505 yards of total offense, North Dakota State never trailed in holding a nearly 15 1/2-minute possession advantage. Bruce Anderson carried the ball 18 times for 63 yards with a 3-yard touchdown, while Dunn returned from a midseason injury to gain 50 yards on 13 carries.


The Bison got some redemption for their 27-17 semifinal-round loss to James Madison that spurred the CAA Football champ to last year's FCS title.

Senior linebacker Nick DeLuca missed that game because of injury, so he'd been waiting for over a year to get another shot at the Dukes.

"It's an expectation to get back to this game and to get back to the national championship," he said. "We take that on as a responsibility and it's something that we set as a goal every year. We're really excited that we were able to get it done this year."

The FCS dynasty continues.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Your 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Matchup.



SCHEDULED: @AlabamaFTBL 0-0 @FootballUGA #CFBPlayoff #NationalChampionship #saimoe #sao #kon #asunayuuki #yuihirasawa

Alabama: 2018 Sugar Bowl Champions



NEW ORLEANS -- Nick Saban is back in his comfort zone.

Let others run up the points. He'll take a defensive slugfest every time.

Especially when it gives Alabama another shot at a national title.

In a game where every yard was a struggle, the Crimson Tide defenders took matters into their own hands. They accounted for a pair of touchdowns just 13 seconds apart in the third quarter to turn an offensive slog into a 24-6 rout of defending national champion Clemson in the Sugar Bowl semifinal game Monday night.

"This game was about our identity as a team," Saban said. "I don't think anybody would doubt our relentless attitude out there. We had a warrior-like mentality."

He was clearly pleased.

Sure, it was quite a contrast to the first two meetings in the Alabama-Clemson trilogy, both high-scoring classics with the national title on the line , not to mention the Rose Bowl semifinal that preceded it. Georgia knocked off Oklahoma 54-48 in a double-overtime thriller that wasn't decided until the Alabama was on its second possession in the Big Easy.

There would be no drama in the nightcap. With Deshaun Watson off to the NFL, top-ranked Clemson (12-2) simply had no answer for the Tide's latest group of defensive standouts, setting up an all-Southeastern Conference showdown for the national title -- with Saban matched against his former defensive coordinator, Georgia coach Kirby Smart.

"I'm proud of the job he's done," Saban said. "I'm sure it will be a great football game."

Leading only 10-6 after a turnover to start the second half handed Clemson a field goal, the fourth-ranked Tide (12-1) quickly snuffed out any thoughts of a repeat title for the Tigers.

It began with 308-pound defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne picking off a wobbly pass after besieged Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant was hit as he threw. Payne rumbled 21 yards on the return, shedding one would-be tackler with a deft open-field move and drawing a 15-yard personal foul penalty when he was finally dragged down with a horse collar tackle.

After Alabama drove to a first down at the Clemson 1, Payne re-entered the game -- presumably to add another big body for blocking purposes. Instead, he slipped open near the right pylon on a play fake and hauled in a touchdown pass, even managing to get both feet down before the celebration commenced beyond the sideline.

"I've got gold hands," quipped Payne, who was picked as the game's defensive MVP.

A bit shell-shocked by that turn of events, Clemson was thoroughly demoralized after its next offensive play. Bryant's pass deflected off the hands of Deon Cain and was intercepted by linebacker Mack Wilson, who returned it 18 yards for another TD.

They could've called it right then.

"Just incredibly disappointed in our performance," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "But congratulations to Alabama. They were the better team today. No doubt about it."

The Tide, which began the season in Atlanta beating Florida State , will return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium next Monday night to face No. 3 Georgia and give Saban a shot at his sixth title, which would match Bear Bryant.

Saban has four championships in the last eight years at Alabama, along with a BCS title at LSU during the 2003 season.

This is eerily reminiscent of Alabama's run to the 2011 championship, another season when the Tide didn't even win its own division or play for the SEC title. That year, Saban's team lost at home to LSU during the regular season but got a second chance against the top-ranked Tigers with the biggest prize on the line -- in the Sugar Bowl, no less.

On that night in the Big Easy, Alabama defense didn't allow LSU to cross midfield until the closing minutes of a suffocating 21-0 victory. This defensive performance was nearly as impressive.

Clemson was held to 188 yards -- 260 yards below its season average -- and never reached the end zone. Bryant was sacked five times and the Tigers were held to 64 yards on the ground.

Alabama played it tough right to the end, denying Clemson on a fourth-down pass into the end zone with just over a minute remaining.

Clearly, the Tide was still ticked off about the way last season ended, giving up a TD pass with 1 second remaining to hand Clemson the national title.

"This," Saban said, "was a little bit personal for us."

SILENT RENFROW

Clemson receiver Hunter Renfrow was known as the Tide Killer.

Not this time.

After hauling in four TD passes in the last two national championship games -- including, of course, the title winner a year ago -- Renfrow was held to just 31 yards on five receptions. All of his catches came in fourth quarter with Alabama comfortably ahead.

"From the opening kickoff, they hit us in the mouth," Renfrow said.

THE TAKEAWAY


Alabama: The Tide's defense against Georgia's offense will be an especially intriguing matchup given the way the semifinal games played out. One thing to keep an eye on: Anfernee Jennings was helped off with a sprained knee late in the game after recording a sack and three tackles for losses, another potential blow to the Tide's already beleaguered linebacker corps.

Clemson: The Tigers looked at this game as a chance to show they had surpassed Alabama as college football's most dominant program. Sorry, the Tide is still king.

"We'll be back," Swinney vowed.

UP NEXT

Alabama: A national championship game to end the season for the third year in a row and sixth time in the last nine seasons.

Clemson: Opens the 2018 season Sept. 1 by hosting FCS school Furman.

Georgia: 2018 Rose Bowl Champions



PASADENA, Calif. -- After ending the first overtime Rose Bowl, one of the greatest Granddaddies of Them All, Sony Michel was swarmed by Georgia teammates as he broke down in tears.

The senior tailback had gone from possible goat to all-time hero for Georgia, sending the Bulldogs to the national championship game with one last burst in a game full of them.

Michel raced 27 yards for a touchdown in the second overtime to give No. 3 Georgia a 54-48 victory against No. 2 Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinal Monday night.

Michel, who had a fumble in the fourth quarter returned for a go-ahead Oklahoma touchdown, ran for 181 yards and three scores for the Bulldogs (13-1), but none bigger than the last one.

"I made plays. I gave up plays. My team just had faith in me," said Michel, who did all that damage on just 11 carries and got a hug from former Bulldogs great tailback Garrison Hearst after scoring the winning TD. "That's what this team is all about. They showed true character today."

In the final game of his great career, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a touchdown pass that gave the Sooners a 17-point lead with 6 seconds left in the first half.

But the Heisman Trophy winner could not get the Sooners (12-2) into the end zone in the first overtime when a touchdown would have ended the game.

"It's tough to describe right now," Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said of the loss. "It's a hell of a college football game. You know, an epic Rose Bowl game."

The Bulldogs will play Alabama on Jan. 8 fin an all-Southeastern Conference national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, about 70 miles from their campus. After Georgia made its first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1943 a heart-stopping success, the Bulldogs will play for their first national title since 1980.

"We got to get back to work. It's not done," Michel said. "Now we got to finish. Let's just finish this season off right."

The 104th Rose Bowl was also the highest-scoring, surpassing last year's 52-49 USC victory against Penn State. There was a lot more on the line in this one, the first CFP game to go to overtime as well.

After an offside penalty on Georgia gave Oklahoma a first down on third-and-five in the second OT possession, the Sooners stalled again and Austin Seibert came out for a 27-yard field goal. Leaping through the line, Lorenzo Carter got his outstretched hand on the kick and the ball fluttered down short of the uprights.

Any score would have ended it for the Bulldogs, and on the second play Michel slipped one tackle and was home free. The Bulldogs sprinted off the sideline and toward the corner of the end zone to mob Michel. Confetti rained down. Meanwhile, Mayfield stood motionless on the sideline for several seconds, bent over with his hands on his knees and head down. Mayfield battled flu-like symptoms the week leading into the game, but he played just fine.

"I can't believe it's over. It's been a wild ride," said Mayfield with a hoarse voice before he started to cry.

Michel and his roommate and running mate Nick Chubb were awesome for Georgia. Chubb ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including a 2-yarder on a direct snap with 55 seconds left in regulation to tie it. The Sooners had taken a 45-38 lead when Steven Parker returned Michel's fumble for a TD with 6:52 left in the fourth.

"I told him that he had to keep running and trying to hit the corner," Chubb said. "We had a long game and after the fumble, we went down and he made up for it with that run to win the game."

Both teams settled for field goals in the first overtime. First, Georgia's Rodrigo Blankenship hit from 38 to make it 48-45.

Then it was Mayfield's turn. A touchdown would have sent the Sooners to Atlanta, but on a third-and-2 from the 17 Georgia All-America linebacker Roquan Smith nailed Jordan Smallwood a yard short of the first down.

Seibert kicked a 33-yarder and the Bulldogs and Sooners played on, but not for much longer.

THE TAKEAWAY

Georgia: The Bulldogs came in with the sixth-best defense in the country, but Mayfield and the Sooners sliced it up in the first half, including a nifty reverse pass to the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback that made it 31-14 with 6 seconds left in the second quarter. Oklahoma had 360 yards in the first half, the second-most the Bulldogs had allowed in a game this season.

Coach Kirby Smart said the defense "stunk it up" in the first half, but there were no dramatic changes in the second. Smith and company just played better. Oklahoma managed only 171 yards and one touchdown in the second half and OT.


Oklahoma: The Sooners' defense has been an issue all season, but it did look for a while like it might make the decisive play. Linebacker Caleb Kelly lowered a shoulder into Michel trying to turn the corner on a sweep and the ball popped loose. Parker picked it up on the bounce, tight-roped the sideline and sprinted 46 yards for the score.

But with a chance to close out the game with 3:22 left in the fourth, Georgia freshman quarterback Jake Fromm led a game-tying drive. Fromm finished 20-for-29 for 210 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

UP NEXT:

Georgia: It's back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the Bulldogs, where they beat Auburn to win the SEC championship and get in the playoff a month ago.

Oklahoma: The Sooners start the post-Mayfield era next fall at home against coach Lane Kiffin's Florida Atlantic team.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Central Florida: 2018 Peach Bowl Champions



ATLANTA -- McKenzie Milton wanted to throw a blanket of 13 wins and no losses over the College Football Playoff.

After Milton and Central Florida capped a perfect season, he suggested it was time to respect the Knights, even if they weren't invited to the playoff.

Milton threw two touchdown passes and ran for 116 yards with another touchdown, leading No. 10 UCF to a 34-27 Peach Bowl win over No. 7 Auburn on Monday.

Then it was time to boast.

"I said on the podium you can go ahead and cancel the playoffs," Milton said. "I'm not changing my mind."

UCF (13-0) led 34-20 before having to stop a late Auburn comeback. Antwan Collier's interception in the end zone with 24 seconds remaining clinched the win.

The UCF players launched a joyous postgame celebration, rolling around in confetti on the field while wearing T-shirts that read "Champions."

The Knights won in their final game with coach Scott Frost, who stayed with the team through the bowl game after accepting an offer to become the new coach at Nebraska , his alma mater. Frost will bring most of his UCF assistants to Nebraska.

"It was the right thing to do to come coach these guys," Frost said, holding the game ball. "I'm not happy for me. I'm so happy for these guys."

The Knights thought they deserved a higher ranking after winning the American Athletic Conference and leading the nation in scoring. They made a strong statement by beating Auburn (10-4).

Frost said "it wasn't right" for UCF to not receive more consideration for the four-team playoff.

"They deserve more credit from the committee than they got," he said.

Auburn was held to 90 yards rushing on 44 carries.

"That was probably the main stat that was disappointing for me," Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said.

More dominance: The Knights sacked Jarrett Stidham six times. Auburn had only one sack.

After Auburn took a 20-13 lead in the third quarter on a 4-yard run by Kerryon Johnson, Milton threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Otis Anderson to tie the game. Milton, under pressure, zipped an 8-yard scoring pass to Dredrick Snelson early in the fourth to give the Knights the lead.

Chequan Burkett's 45-yard interception return for a touchdown pushed the lead to 14 points.

Auburn suffered its second straight loss at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where it was beaten by Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game one month ago.

Johnson, who said he was almost fully recovered from a late-season shoulder injury, ran for 71 yards.

UCF led 13-6 at halftime despite being held under 14 points at the break for the first time this season.

TROPHIES

Frost lofted the football-shaped Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl trophy before passing it on to his players. Milton was named offensive MVP. Shaquem Griffin, who had 12 tackles including 1 1/2 sacks, was defensive MVP.

TAKEAWAYS

UCF: The Knights passed every test, including on the line of scrimmage, as they proved they could match speed and strength with the Tigers. Milton overcame a slow start after completing only 3 of 17 passes for 30 yards in the first half. He completed 16 of 35 passes for 242 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.


Auburn: The Tigers couldn't maintain momentum after opening the second half with two touchdowns for a 20-13 lead. Auburn insisted motivation would not be a problem after the crushing loss in the SEC championship game, but after the game, cornerback Javaris Davis said the Knights "just wanted it more and they came out and played like it." Stidham completed 28 of 43 passes for 331 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

UP NEXT

UCF: The Knights will begin a new era with coach Josh Heupel , the former Missouri offensive coordinator. Their opening game has not been set, but they will play at North Carolina on Sept. 15.

Auburn: The Tigers will return for their third straight game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium when they play Washington on Sept. 1 to open the 2018 season.

Notre Dame: 2018 Citrus Bowl Champions



ORLANDO, Fla. -- Notre Dame receiver Miles Boykin lived up to Brian Kelly's expectations.

The Fighting Irish's head coach told the junior during a practice leading up to Monday's Citrus Bowl game against LSU that Boykin was going to win the MVP trophy.

Boykin made not only one of the top plays of this bowl season but one of the more memorable catches in Notre Dame bowl history. He made a dynamic one-handed grab and raced down the sideline for a 55-yard touchdown with 1:28 remaining to give the 14th-ranked Fighting Irish a 21-17 victory over No. 16 LSU.

The win by Notre Dame (10-3) is its first in a New Year's Day bowl since the 1994 Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M and snaps a nine-game skid in January postseason games.

"He looked at me like I had two heads. But I felt like he had a chance," said Kelly about his prediction. "He's got the ability, if we could get him the football. And Ian got him the football and Miles made a great individual play and, lo and behold, I've got the MVP sitting next to me."

Boykin had only nine catches for 151 yards and a TD coming into the game, but he got his first start after starters Chase Claypool (shoulder injury) and Kevin Stephenson (suspension) were ruled out.

Boykin showed off his wide-catch radius on what proved to be the game-winning play. On first-and-10 from the Irish 45, Ian Book lofted a pass up the right sideline that Boykin was able to snag with his right hand at the LSU 33, eluding corner Donte Jackson. Boykin then broke a tackle attempt by Donte Jackson at the LSU 26 before finding a clear path to the end zone.

"Ian put it in place where only I could reach it," said Boykin, who finished with three receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. "It was a great pass and I was just lucky enough to pull it down on one hand. I've got pretty big hands."

LSU coach Ed Orgeron said that Boykin made a great grab but lamented his defense's other struggles on the play.

"We had our best cover guy on him (Jackson) but he's a big receiver," he said after the Tigers finished the season 9-4. "We had two guys on him and missed the tackle. That's what I'm mostly disappointed with."

Book entered the game in the second quarter after Brandon Wimbush struggled moving the offense. The sophomore was 14 of 19 for 164 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Book's first touchdown came early in the fourth quarter. With Notre Dame trailing 14-6, he found Michael Young in the back of the end zone for a 6-yard score. Josh Adams then scored on a two-point conversion to tie it.

"It was an awesome opportunity, such a surreal moment that last play with Miles," Book said. "We knew it was going to be a close game. We just had to stay composed and do what we have been doing since January."

The game lacked drama the first three quarters. It was scoreless until four seconds remained in the first half when a Justin Yoon 46-yard field goal gave Notre Dame a 3-0 halftime lead.

LSU's Danny Etling was 19 of 33 for 229 yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns to Derrius Guice. Guice, who was the MVP of last year's game, had 98 yards on 21 carries.

THE TAKEAWAY

Notre Dame: Kelly joins Knute Rockne, Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz as the only Fighting Irish coaches to have three double-digit win seasons at the school.

LSU: Guice, who said after the game that he hasn't made a decision on whether to leave early for the NFL draft, joins Charles Alexander, Dalton Hilliard, Kevin Faulk and Leonard Fournette as the only players in school history to rush for more than 3,000 yards. He has 3,065 yards in 36 games.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

The Tigers had it twice on the Irish 1 and managed just three points. In the second quarter they had fourth-and-goal before being called for a false start which resulted in a missed 22-yard field goal by Connor Culp.

In the fourth quarter a Guice 2-yard reception put the Tigers in another fourth-and-goal at the 1. Orgeron decided to go for the 3-point lead and a Jack Gonsoulin 17-yard field goal, which gave the Tigers a 17-14 lead.

"We shot ourselves in the foot too many times," Etling said. "We executed pretty well every possession, but made one or two bad plays, false starts that put us five yards back and all the sudden we're in a tougher situation."

TOUGH DAY FOR ADAMS


Adams, who came into the game averaging 115.5 yards per game, was held to 44 yards on 15 carries. In three of the Irish's last four games he was held to under 50 yards.

UP NEXT

Notre Dame: The Irish open next season with a home game against Michigan on Sept. 1. During spring practices, Kelly will have to replace three starters on an offensive line that was considered the nation's best.

LSU: The Tigers will have to replace six starters on offense, including Etling and likely Guice, leading into the Sept. 1 opener against Miami in Dallas.

South Carolina: 2018 Outback Bowl Champions



TAMPA, Fla. -- Will Muschamp envisions championships in South Carolina's future.

Lots of them.

"We don't have all the trophies and the tradition and history but we have some grit," the coach said after the Gamecocks rallied from a 16-point second-half deficit. to beat Michigan 26-19 in Monday's Outback Bowl.

"We've got some toughness and resolve. You saw us down 19-3 and not a lot of good things happening for us," Muschamp added. "All the arrows are pointing up for us. We're going to have those trophies."

Jake Bentley threw for 239 yards and two touchdowns Monday to pace the win, which gave the Gamecocks (9-4) at least nine wins in a season for just the seventh time.

Bentley shrugged off a slow start to toss scoring passes of 21 yards to Bryan Edwards and 53 yards to Shi Smith, the latter giving his team a 23-19 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The sophomore said once the Gamecocks began to have some success, the offense's confidence grew.

"It's just we started to execute well. The excitement, I think, is contagious to the whole team," Bentley, voted the game's most valuable player, said. "You see where we went from there."

Michigan (8-5) finished with its first three-game losing streak under coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines turned the ball over five times after halftime, including an end zone interception that denied them an opportunity to regain the lead with just under eight minutes to go.

The loss also cost the Big Ten a clean sweep of bowl games involving conference members. The league entered 7-0, looking to go unbeaten in postseason play for the first time since 1998 when it went 5-0.

"We kind of let them hang around and they took advantage of it.," Harbaugh said. "They got better as the game went on. We didn't get the knockout punch when we needed it."

Bentley was 19 of 32 passing with one interception. Rico Dowdle, playing for first time since breaking his leg against Tennessee on Oct. 14, began South Carolina's comeback from a 19-3 deficit with a 17-yard TD run.

Brandon Peters had a tough day for Michigan, completing 20 of 44 passes for 186 yards and two interceptions. His second pick, with 1:05 remaining, sealed South Carolina's second Outback Bowl victory over the Wolverines in five years.

"There's some really good, and there's a few I know he'd like to have back," Jarbaugh said. "But he was battling just like the rest of the guys. There was some error there, a little too much at the wrong time."

Quinn Nordin accounted for most of Michigan's scoring, kicking field goals of 35, 26, 45 and 48 yards. Fullback Ben Mason scored on a 1-yard run in helping Michigan build its 16-point lead.

Peters, who returned to the lineup after missing the regular-season finale against Ohio State with a concussion, was hoping to make it more difficult for Harbaugh to replace him next season -- even if Shea Patterson is one of coach's options.

Patterson plans to transfer to Michigan from Mississippi, a program hit with sanctions, and to petition the NCAA to allow him to be immediately eligible.

ONCE, TWICE, THREE TIMES

South Carolina leads the all-time series between the team 3-1, including a 33-28 victory in the 2013 Outback Bowl. Michigan's lone win came in 1985.

THE TAKEAWAY

Michigan: The Wolverines started 4-0, but their inexperience showed in going 5-4 in Big Ten play with losses to Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State. Losing to South Carolina extended the team's season-ending skid to three games.

South Carolina: South Carolina feels good about its progress in two seasons under coach Muschamp, whose 15 victories match the most by any coach in his first two years with the Gamecocks. Joe Morrison (1983-84) and Steve Spurrier (2005-06) also won 15.

"This whole month we've talked about going on out top and leaving the right legacy for this class," linebacker Skai Moore, one of 12 seniors on South Carolina's 109-player roster, said. "It means a lot to this senior group."

UP NEXT


Michigan: Wolverines could open the 2018 season against Notre Dame with a new quarterback. But there likely will not be nearly as many changes as this season when Michigan returned the fewest starters (six) of any FBS program in the country. In addition to Peters and Patterson, the competition for the QB job will include Dylan McCaffrey, son of former NFL player Ed McCaffrey and brother of Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey.

South Carolina: Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Kurt Roper last month and must decide on a replacement. Co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon called plays Monday, and Muschamp said before the game he was impressed with the job McClendon did during preparation for Michigan.