The stats that mattered in Florida's 24-17 win over Ohio State in the Gator Bowl, from Florida's special teams dominance, to John Brantley's passing, to the Benny Hillifier.
2: Florida fumbles lost inside the Ohio State 30. One would think that if a team gains only 263 yards, blowing two scoring opportunities would be a bad idea if one intended to actually win. The Gators were outgained by 36 yards and lost the turnover points margin by 3.8 points, but they won because of two words: special teams. Andre Debose, who caught just one pass for nine yards, returned a kickoff for 99 yards in the second quarter, and Chris Rainey blocked a punt, which was picked up by Graham Stewart and returned for a touchdown. The Gators' offense accounted for just 10 points, but special teams directly accounted for 14.
Not only did these two touchdowns give Florida a cushion, but they helped to define the narrative of the game as well. To put it kindly, Braxton Miller and the Ohio State offense were not built to play from behind. An offense like Oregon's or Oklahoma State's would not blink at a 14-point deficit, but Ohio State's? Not so much. With the lead, Florida was able to tee off on Miller with reckless abandon.
6: Approximate number of players who touched the ball on this fumble by DeVier Posey:
Osu 3-6 at Uf43: Miller, Braxton pass complete to Posey, DeVier for 10 yards to the UF33, fumble forced by Purifoy,L., fumble by Posey, DeVier recovered by UF Evans,J. at UF33, Evans,J. for 13 yards to the UF46 (Miller, Braxton).
Doesn't quite do it justice, though I do love that Braxton Miller started and (technically) finished the play.
20.7: Florida's sack rate on Braxton Miller's 29 pass attempts. Granted, three of the sacks came when the game was tied -- Miller was 3-for-3 for 41 yards, a touchdown and three sacks when tied, 15-for-20 for 121 yards and three more sacks when behind -- but the premise was the same for Ohio State all game: either dump off to the running backs or get sacked. Nine of Miller's 23 passes were to backs Dan Herron, Jordan Hall and Carlos Hyde, who combined for eight catches and just 31 yards. When Miller got more ambitious, he usually ended up on his back. Herron, Hall and Hyde combined to gain 123 yards on 21 carries, but once Ohio State went down two possessions (following the blocked punt), running didn't really matter.
For the game, Ohio State gained more yards, and averaged more yards per play, than Florida, but they went backwards too frequently. Florida ended up with 12 tackles for loss to Ohio State's three, and those are simply drive killers, especially for an offense so reliant on the run.
132: John Brantley's passing yards. He was 12-for-16, threw a touchdown and a pick and avoided any sacks. He wasn't asked to do much, but he averaged a pretty healthy 8.3 yards per pass and found players like receiver Deonte Thompson and tight end Omarius Hines (combined: four targets, four catches, 67 yards) just enough to keep Ohio State from completely over-loading against the run, and the run was just successful enough (Rainey, Jeff Demps, Trey Burton and Mike Gillislee combined to gain 139 yards on 32 carries) to grind clock and shorten the game for an Ohio State offense that needed as many possessions as humanly possible to catch up.