Michigan preparing for New Year's Day bowl game without key players

(WXYZ) - No. 19 Michigan is picking up the intensity in their New Year's Day bowl game preparation.

The Wolverines (8-4, 6-2 Big Ten) will be taking on No. 10 South Carolina (10-2, 6-2 SEC) in the Outback Bowl, January 1.

The Gamecocks are expected to pose a serious challenge to Michigan, who's hoping to win their second straight post season game.

The already large challenge grew even bigger this week when head coach Brady Hoke suspended three players -- two of them starters.

Hoke dismissed starting cornerback, J.T. Floyd, and punter, Will Hagerup. The team will also be without backup linebacker, Brandin Hawthorne.

According to Hoke, all three violated team rules.  

Senior offensive lineman Patrick Omameh shared his thoughts on the situation, "It's never good to lose a brother, but we have to come together as a team and move forward."

He added, "Everybody understands what the situation is and what the expectations are of us. We have to keep that understanding going forward and set a good example for the young guys in this program."

Senior defensive back, and captain, Jordan Kovacs will be without his backfield mate come New Year's. He shared an explanation as to why this happened.

"I think that's the tough part about bowl games... There's so many distractions outside -- and you want to go out and have a good time -- but at the end of the day it's about winning the ballgame, said Kovacs." 

The senior knows this will be his last football game for Michigan, and although Kovac's confirmed that he'll pursue an NFL career, this game has a lot of meaning.

Kovacs said, "It's going to be tough to play my last game with the 'winged helmet,' but it's going to be a fun game. I really look forward to playing with my teammates and taking the field with them one last time.

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