“I asked one of those other refs there. I said, ‘You know the ball did not touch the first-down marker.’ He said, ‘I know it didn’t.’ I said, ‘Well, why did he give it to them?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know,’” Spurrier said.
“Clowney knocked the ball out the next play, so I’m glad they gave it to them. … We gained about 10 or 15 yards.”
Robinson was injured during the first half of Michigan’s two-touchdown loss to Nebraska on Oct. 27. He missed the rest of that game, as well the next two against Minnesota and Northwestern before returning the final two weeks of the regular season to contribute in ways that didn’t require him to throw the ball.
The 6-foot, 197-pound native of Deerfield Beach, Fla., entered the game during Michigan’s second possession and ran for 15 yards on his first play. Gardner threw 26 yards to Gallon, moving the Wolverines into position for Brendan Gibbons to kick a 39-yard field goal.
Down 14-3 after Sanders’ punt return, Michigan marched 75 yards in 11 plays to trim South Carolina’s lead to four, with Robinson carrying four times for 20 yards along the way. Gardner finished the drive by flipping his touchdown pass to Dileo early in the second quarter.
Michigan began the day ranked second in the nation in pass defense, allowing 155 yards per game. South Carolina matched that in the opening half alone, with most of the yardage coming on Shaw’s long TD throw to Byrd and Thompson’s 70-yard completion to Jones that led to Sanders’ second TD for a 21-10 lead.
The Wolverines turned South Carolina’s only turnover into Gibbons’ 40-yard field goal in the second quarter, and Matt Wile’s Outback Bowl-record 52-yard field goal trimmed Michigan’s deficit to 21-16.
South Carolina ended on a five-game winning streak that followed consecutive losses to LSU and Florida. The Gamecocks also won 11 games last season.
“We hit eight of 10 goals we started the season with,” Spurrier said. “We did that last year, too. That’s good, but it still can be better.”
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