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Story Time with Mark: Outback Bowl observations

Taking a look at some of the things we saw in the final game of the year.

Outback Bowl -  Michigan v South Carolina Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Michigan led South Carolina 19-3 late in the third quarter when the wheels came off. Behind poor quarterback play and three turnovers in the final 20 minutes of the game, the Gamecocks came from behind to defeat Michigan. The loss sent the Wolverines to an 8-5 record and an offseason with more questions than answers for the anemic offense.

Quarterback play has been inconsistent since midway through the 2016 season. Prior to the Purdue game, Michigan fans decried the play of Wilton Speight. After Speight went down, fans clamored for Brandon Peters to replace John O’Korn.

By the end of the second quarter, the pitchforks had turned on Brandon Peters as well.

At this point, the blame for the lack of production has to be squarely placed on the coaching staff and its inability to get a quarterback not named Jake Rudock ready to win.

Here are a few bulleted thoughts after the game and Harbaugh’s press conference.

•If you’re trying to cook the perfect recipe of how to give a football game away, the first ingredient has to be turning the ball over on three of your last four drives.

•Again, the defense played championship level football. They gave up one long drive and had their backs pinned against the wall when the offense turned the ball over deep in its own territory. Momentum is real, and that’s when it turned.

•Michigan is wasting a historically good defense over the course of two seasons. An offense with a mild pulse could make Michigan a contender.

•Quinn Nordin is the real deal. Should he have done the Baker Mayfield crotch grab? We’ll let the final score answer that for you.

•The coaching staff had four weeks to prepare for this game and looked wholly lost for large chunks of it. The play calling was suspect throughout.

•The game did nothing to quell the notion that Michigan needs an elite quarterback to be successful. It’s yet to be determined if that player is on the roster.

•Chase Winovich had an amazing game, but that loss has to leave a sour taste in his mouth. Fans of Michigan will eagerly await his decision on the NFL draft.

•The offensive line has to play better to give Michigan a chance at winning more games. The Tim Drevno experience has not panned out so far. They’ve improved in the running game (not today, though) but pass protection leaves much to be desired.