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Thompson lifts SCarolina past Michigan in Outback

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Thompson lifts SCarolina past Michigan in Outback

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Despite all South Carolina has accomplished under Steve Spurrier, the winningest coach in school history couldn't recall a finish quite like the one the Gamecocks pulled off in the Outback Bowl.

Down a point with 3:29 to go, Connor Shaw launched a game-winning drive that Dylan Thompson finished with a touchdown pass in the closing seconds to beat Michigan 33-28 and give South Carolina another 11-win season and consecutive bowl victories for the first time in over a decade.

``We haven't won one like that since I've been here, in eight years, so hopefully that will sort of tell us: `Hey, we can do that.' It's possible. Just hang in there,'' Spurrier said Tuesday.

``I keep being reminded by a lot of my buddies, `We used to leave at halftime before when it was going south on us. We don't leave anymore,'' the coach added. ``So, that's encouraging.''

Spurrier, who is well-known for benching struggling QBs, called on both of his talented passers to improve to 3-4 in bowl games with the 11th-ranked Gamecocks. No coach has led them to more postseason victories.

Shaw opened with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Damiere Byrd on the third play of the game. Thompson closed with a 32-yard TD strike to Bruce Ellington with 11 seconds remaining.

``I don't know if I've ever given two quarterbacks a game ball, but today I said: `Hey, we've got to give them to both you guys,''' the Head Ball Coach said.

``Both those young men are just so super team-oriented. There's no jealousy, nothing. ... Those guys are just really, really good teammates. Wonderful team players,'' the coach added. ``We tried to tell Connor: `It's your game.' And it was his game, but Dylan was going to play. He understood that. It worked beautifully as it turned out.''

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was quiet for much of the day but shifted momentum in the fourth quarter with a big hit on Vincent Smith that sent the running back's helmet rolling several yards backward and caused a fumble that the SEC defensive player of the year recovered to set up Shaw's TD pass to Sanders for a 27-22 lead.

The TD capped a three-play sequence that began with Michigan running its second fake punt of the game, gaining 4 yards to the Wolverines 41 for what was ruled a first down, despite not appearing be one when the officials called for a measurement. South Carolina challenged the spot, but the ruling on the field was upheld.

Clowney then leveled Smith just as he was taking the handoff from quarterback Devin Gardner, jarring the ball loose.

``I asked one of those other refs there. I said, `You know the ball did not touch the first-down marker,''' Spurrier said. ``He said, `I know it didn't.' I said, `Well, why did he give it to them?' and he said, `I don't know.'''

``Clowney knocked the ball out the next play, so I'm glad they gave it to them. ... We gained about 10 or 15 yards.''

Thompson replaced Shaw during the winning drive, covering the final 43 yards after Shaw began the march from his own 30 and kept it alive with a 6-yard completion to Ace Sanders on a fourth-and-3 play. Gardner's third TD pass of the game had given Michigan a 28-27 lead.

``I wasn't nervous. I knew I had great guys around me, and I trusted them and just was confident,'' Thompson said, adding that South Carolina's two-quarterback setup functioned well because he and Shaw are unselfish players.

``I think it's honestly because we have a great team. We trust each other. We pull for each other, and it's no different with the quarterback situation,'' Thompson said. ``I want Connor Shaw, every time he steps on the field, to go 25-for-25 and 400 yards and five touchdowns. Every time. I think honestly, he wants the same thing for me.''

Shaw threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns after missing the Gamecocks' regular-season finale with a left foot sprain. Thompson led the Gamecocks (11-2) to a victory at archrival Clemson, and threw for 117 yards and two TDs in the bowl.

Gardner threw for 214 yards in his fifth start for Michigan (8-5) since Denard Robinson injured his right elbow late in the season. Robinson took some snaps at quarterback and even attempted his first passes in a game since Oct. 27, but lined up mostly at running back and rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries.

``Michigan probably outplayed us overall. Gosh, they had 82 plays to our 52,'' Spurrier said. ``We had a lot of big plays. We had more yards than them in just 30 less plays. ... It was a game that they probably played a little bit better overall, but we were about to score points, score five touchdowns.''

Sanders caught TD passes of 4 yards from Thompson and 31 yards from Shaw, who completed 18 of 26 passes before aggravating his foot injury and limping off during the final drive. The speedy receiver had nine catches for 92 yards and also scored on a 63-yard punt return - one of four plays over 50 yards yielded by Michigan.

Gardner was 18 of 36, including TD passes of 5 yards to Drew Dileo and 10 and 17 yards to Jeremy Gallon, who gave Michigan its late lead and finished with career bests of nine receptions and 145 yards. Robinson set the NCAA record for career yards rushing by a quarterback, hiking his four-year total to 4,495 - 15 more than West Virginia's Pat White ran for from 2005-08.

``I'd rather win the game,'' said Robinson, who attempted two passes in the third quarter, both incompletions, and also ran twice on plays in which he took the snap as the quarterback - a role he embraced after being injured during a loss to Nebraska.

``It was just what I thought it was going to be,'' Robinson said. ``I tried to make the most of it.''

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.

``It's the first Outback Bowl I've ever won. Sort of personally greedy, I wanted to win one,'' Spurrier said. ``I've been lucky to win most of these in Florida, but this is the first one of these Outback Bowls.''

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

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Report: Former Terp Diamond Stone included in federal documents detailing NCAA violations

Report: Former Terp Diamond Stone included in federal documents detailing NCAA violations

A bombshell article published Friday morning by Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports details potential NCAA violations involving more than 20 schools and 25 players.

Several of the biggest names and programs in college basketball were referenced in the Yahoo! report, including former Maryland Terrapin, Diamond Stone.

According to documents and bank records that are part of an FBI investigation, Stone received $14,303 while a freshman at Maryland, a clear violation of NCAA rules. 

Former NBA agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports was the primary handler dishing out incentives, which included cash advances, entertainment expenses and travel expenses for high school and college prospects.

Other players referenced in the documents include Dennis Smith who played at North Carolina State, Isaiah Whitehead from Seton Hall, DeMatha star Markelle Fultz who played at Washington and Edrice "Bam" Adebayo who went on to play at Kentucky. 

Player's and their families from Duke, Michigan State, USC, North Carolina, Texas and Alabama were also included.

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season before declaring for the 2016 NBA Draft. He was selected 40th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans and traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Stone did end up signing with a different agency.

While this is still under investigation, large consequences for the NCAA can be expected.

The NCAA released this statement following the news. 

These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York's indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it's clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.

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