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.