In the simplest of terms, the South Carolina Gamecocks have less weapons to worry about on the opposing side of the field when they take on the Michigan Wolverines in the Outback Bowl now.
Michigan suspended starting cornerback, senior T.J. Floyd, starting punter, junior Will Hagerup and senior linebacker Brandin Hawthorne.
As for the suspensions, coach Brady Hoake said, “These young men used poor judgment in each circumstance, and these suspensions are teaching moments for our team.”
The reasons for the suspensions have not been released.
The biggest loss for the Wolverines, in my opinion, is Hagerup. The junior was named the Big 10’s best punter this season after averaging 45 yards per punt on 32 tries. He only had two games this season where he averaged less than 40 yards per punt. He averaged 50 yards per punt or better in three games.
His backup, Matt Wile, has averaged 31.9 yards per punt this season on nine tries. His long is just 42 yards.
Floyd has 48 tackles on the year and five pass deflections. The Wolverines had already been shifting players around in their secondary, so their roster is better apt to handling a loss at DB than punter.
Hawthorne had 18 tackles this year.
Michigan’s defense should still be able to play at around the same level as it would have with these guys on the team, but their special teams play will probably take a huge hit with Hagerup’s loss.
Ace Sanders is probably licking his chops as I type.