After an outstanding true freshman season in 2016, many were expecting South Carolina QB Jake Bentley to take a big step forward in 2017.

That didn’t happen, though, and a late-season slump was to blame for it. In the final six games of the regular season, Bentley threw only four touchdowns to go with seven interceptions.

The Gamecocks went 4-2 in that stretch, but Bentley knows he needs to be better if South Carolina is going to beat Michigan in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. He said he’s focusing on his footwork as his biggest priority to break out of his slump (via

“Just footwork, I think, is the biggest thing. Controlling my feet, slowing it down, not being so sporadic, being under control more,” Bentley said. “Get my base underneath me. Doing a lot more footwork drills during individual time in practice. And just really focusing on accuracy.”

Going up against a tough Michigan defense won’t make things any easier for the talented sophomore, but he’ll need to play better to give his team a chance to win.

The Outback Bowl kicks off at noon Eastern time on New Year’s Day and can be seen on ESPN.