TAMPA — Although Jeremy Gallon had a career day, Denard Robinson finished a career for the ages.
But in the wake of the Michigan football team’s 33-28 loss to No. 11 South Carolina in Tuesday’s Outback Bowl, Robinson, the quarterback-turned-temporary tailback wasn’t in the mood to savor the final game of the season.
Gallon, a redshirt junior from Apopka, Fla., had a game-best nine catches for 145 yards and scored two touchdowns — a career-high in both catches and receiving yardage.
Gallon’s performance reinforced Robinson, who played his last collegiate game in his home state.
Less than six minutes into the fourth quarter, Robinson became the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher among Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks when he completed a nine-yard run that put the Wolverines at their own 37-yard-line.
Robinson finished the game as Michigan’s leading rusher against South Carolina with 100 yards on 23 carries, and supplanted former West Virginia quarterback Pat White in the national category with 4,495 yards.
Even though he further cemented his legacy with the Wolverines, Robinson was contemplative instead of celebratory.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” said Robinson, who also had one pass (an incompletion) and one catch for seven yards. “I mean, that’s my family. That’s my brothers. I’ve been with them for four years and it comes to an end.”
LEWAN’S BEING MUM: Michigan offensive lineman Taylor Lewan said after Tuesday’s loss that he would confer with his teammates and with Michigan’s coaches and media relations staff before announcing his decision whether to forgo his final season at Michigan for the NFL draft.
“But it’s not fair to my team to tell y’all [the media] and not tell them,” said Lewan, who played despite cramping up in the third quarter.
Lewan, who is projected as a first-round pick in April’s NFL draft, matched up against South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who is already projected by draft pundits as the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
But while Lewan acknowledged the banter between the two — and the mutual respect he and Clowney gained for each other during Tuesday’s game — he looked at the big picture.
“None of this matters, because we didn’t win,” Lewan said.
SPURRIER SAYS: South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier vehemently protested a measurement ruling on the field in the fourth quarter that awarded Michigan a first down. On third-and-4, Floyd Simmons’ run appeared put the Wolverines at their own 41, but when officials measured the spot, the football did not reach the end of the yard marker chain.
"I asked one of those refs over there," Spurrier said. "I said, ‘you know the ball did not touch the first-down marker.’ He said, ‘I know it didn’t.’ I said, ‘well, why’d you give it to him? And he said, ‘I don’t know.’ That’s what he said."
FOR THE RECORD: Matt Wile’s 52-yard field goal with 6:54 left in the third quarter cut South Carolina's lead to 21-16, and Michigan’s sophomore set a new Outback Bowl record. Alabama's Philip Doyle set the previous field-goal record of 51 yards in 1988.
IN THE SACK: South Carolina sacked Michigan’s quarterbacks three times with none coming from Clowney, who entered the game with 13 sacks.
Victor Hampton, Kelcy Quarles, and Aldrick Fordham each registered a sack for the Gamecocks, who had 43 sacks as a team this season, breaking the previous school record of 40 set in 2010.
HUSHED, THEN MUTED: When South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger stood at the 50-yard-line to make the call in the pregame coin toss, he was asked to repeat himself because his call wasn’t loud enough for the head referee.
When he repeated the call, his choice of “Heads!” was audible.
So was the language he used following the call — as Michigan won the toss and chose to defer.
ESPN’s national broadcast had to mute some of Swearinger’s colorful words after the coin flip.