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Florida Vs. Ohio State, Gator Bowl: Gators Take Urban Meyer Game, 24-17

Urban Meyer's not responsible for this game, but let's invoke his name anyway. Live Gator Bowl box score, Gator Bowl FAQ and Jan. 2 bowl TV schedule.

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2012 Gator Bowl Final Score: Florida Beats Ohio State Again, 24-17

The 2012 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl was not where either Florida or Ohio State dreamed of finishing its 2011 season. But it was the Gators who got the 24-17 win in Jacksonville to avoid ending their season with a losing record.

The Gators got 132 passing yards and a touchdown pass from John Brantley and 71 rushing yards and a blocked punt from Chris Rainey, and scored touchdowns on Andre Debose's 99-yard kickoff return touchdown and Graham Stewart's return of the blocked punt.

The game was closer to a nightmare for Ohio State, which had problems stopping Florida, moving the ball, and on special teams. And yet, with less than a minute to go, the Buckeyes were within a touchdown; an onside kick recovered by Stephen Alli preserved the Gators' win.

Braxton Miller, who threw for 71 yards and a touchdown on that final drive to close the game to a single possession, finished with 162 passing yards and two touchdowns on the day.

The Gators improved to 7-6 on the year, and dodged their first losing season since 1979. For the Buckeyes, their 6-7 record makes 2011 the first year since 1897 that Ohio State has had seven losses.

For more on the Gator Bowl, visit Florida blog Alligator Army and SEC blog Team Speed Kills, and Ohio State blog Along the Olentangy and Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire.


Ohio State Vs. Florida, 2012 Gator Bowl: Urban Meyer's Old And Future Teams Face Off

Urban Meyer will not be patrolling the sidelines for either Ohio State or Florida in the 2012 Gator Bowl, but you can bet his presence will heavily felt.  The former Florida coach was recently hired by Ohio State to help turn around a program that barely qualified for a bowl game this year, after winning at least 10 games in seven of the past eight years.

In a way, both teams should probably thank Meyer that anyone will really care about this game. With a pair of 6-6 teams facing off in an otherwise forgettable bowl, there is little reason to care about it otherwise.

The Buckeyes head into this matchup having lost three straight games, following a decent start that had them sitting at 6-3 with two wins over Top 25 teams. But losses to No. 21 Penn State and No. 15 Purdue left Ohio State with their worst record since 1999 and with six losses for just the third time since 1948.

Although all three of those season-ending losses were by less than a touchdown, it was clear that the Buckeyes were clearly not the same team without Jim Tressel on the sidelines. Their passing offense, never really a strength anyway, was downright awful. The Buckeyes averaged just 124.1 yards per game through the air and their 25.1 points per game was the 76th best average in the nation. Their rushing offense was not bad, averaging 195.4 yards per game, but no running back rushed for as many as 700 yards this season.

As bad as the Buckeyes may have been, Florida was even worse. In their first season without Meyer, the Gators finished with their worst seasons since going winless in 1979. After starting the season 4-0, they finished it out going 2-6 and did not beat a team with a winning record after topping then 2-1 Kentucky on Sept. 24. 

The creativity and explosiveness that defined Florida during most of the past 30 years was absent under current head coach Will Muschamp. The Gators finished with the 88th best passing offense, the 75th best rushing offense and scored an average of 25.6 points per game (72nd). Their only saving grace was the play of the defense, which allowed 20.6 points per game (25th). 

This all comes in stark contrast to the one and only previous time these two teams met. That was back in 2007 when they played for the national championship, which Florida won in a 41-14 romp. Just for good measure, Florida won the basketball championship three months later, again beating Ohio State in the final.

For the latest updates on the Gator Bowl, be sure to follow this StoryStream.

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