Originally written on The Detroit Sports Site  |  Last updated 1/15/13
One of the most memorable moments of the recent college football bowl season came when South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney clobbered Michigan running back Vincent Smith, in the process knocking Smith’s helmet off and forcing a fumble. The brutal hit was replayed over and over again from that point until the season ended — and it figures to be on Clowney’s highlight tape for years to come. Smith told ESPN.com’s Michael Rothstein that he “couldn’t duck or try anything” after taking the handoff from Devin Gardner on the play. “My head wasn’t even down,” Smith said, “and that’s why my helmet popped off.” More from Smith on what proved to be a turning point in Michigan’s Outback Bowl loss: It looked, he said, worse than it was. “Oh yeah, it did,” Smith said. “I saw it and was like, ‘Dang.’” … “I saw it coming and I couldn’t do anything about it,” Smith said. “When Devin gave me the ball, he was looking behind him so he didn’t even see. He looked back and he handed me the ball as I was making my pocket.” Smith’s turnover came one play after Michigan was given a controversial first down by the officials. South Carolina immediately struck for a touchdown following the fumble to take a 27-22 lead. Michigan responded to reclaim the edge, 28-27, but the Gamecocks won it with a very late TD pass. Smith returned to the field for a couple of plays late, but that fumble was the last time he touched the football as a Wolverine — the senior’s career wrapped with Michigan’s defeat. Not exactly a great way to go out … even if it may live on in college football lore for years.
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