ATLANTA — The Michigan football team capped the 2018 season just like it did last season, with an ugly loss to an SEC school that it was favored over.
But this year was unique in the number of players the seventh-ranked Wolverines were missing, and the litany of injuries that occurred during the 41-15 loss to Florida in the Peach Bowl.
Sophomores Kwity Paye and Devin Gil had to come out of the game in the second quarter with hamstring injuries, head coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed.
Harbaugh did not go into detail about the severity of each player, but Michigan’s radio broadcast said Gil, a redshirt sophomore linebacker, had to be carted to the locker room. Paye said he pulled a hamstring in the game, but he was up walking around afterward.
“We worked so hard this month to end it like this,” Paye said. “It’s just not a good feeling.”
Both players are expected to fill major roles in 2019, after Michigan is set to lose both of its defensive ends. Rashan Gary has declared for the NFL draft, while Chase Winovich had his eligibility expire.
Michigan (10-3) was already playing without its All-American linebacker Devin Bush, Jr., who suffered a hip pointer in the regular-season loss to Ohio State and says he was not cleared to play in the bowl game, and Gary.
Speaking of Winovich, who elected to play in the bowl game, he too was dealing with injuries. He pulled his calf and hamstring during pregame warmups but decided to play anyway.
And he was dealing with a cold. And says he is planning surgery to repair an injury suffered in the loss to Ohio State.
“You can make excuses for stuff,” Winovich said. “The players leaving were impact players from the last time we played Florida. We had injuries galore.”
Offensively, the Wolverines played without top running back Karan Higdon and starting right tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty. The group is only set to lose a few key players: Higdon, Bushell-Beatty and wide receiver Grant Perry.