From sidelines: UF makes plays

Florida's Loucheiz Purifoy knocks the ball free from Ohio State's DeVier Posey during the second half of the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., Monday, January 2, 2012. The Gators recovered the ball. (Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, January 2, 2012 at 5:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 2, 2012 at 5:41 p.m.

Best decision

Jeff Demps waited until the last possible moment and smartly let the ball roll out of bounds on the opening kickoff. Had Demps fielded the kick, he might have been smothered inside the 20. Instead UF got the ball at the 40 because of the automatic penalty.

Best surprise

Omar Hunter’s hit forced a rare fumble from a UF foe. Pop Saunders recovered the loose ball, ensuring the takeaway for Florida, which entered the game having forced just 12 regular-season turnovers, the fewest in the SEC. However, the Gators’ good fortune was wasted with a fumble at the OSU 25, two plays into the possession.

Best return

Andre Debose doesn’t need much space. Florida’s star receiver squeezed through an opening and returned a second-quarter kickoff 99 yards to give UF a 14-7 lead. The play was the longest kick return in Gator Bowl history.

Worst punt

Kyle Christy’s second-quarter, 22-yard shank couldn’t have come at a worse time. The low, wobbly punt gave the Buckeyes’ possession at the 50, field position that yielded a 47-yard field goal late in the first half.

Stat of the Game

Six. That’s the number of sacks Florida tallied against Ohio State.

Play of the Game

Chris Rainey blocked an Ohio State punt. Graham Stewart recovered the ball at the Buckeyes’ 14 and scored easily, giving UF a 21-10 lead early in the third quarter.

What’s Up With That?

Why bring in Trey Burton in on the Gators’ opening drive after they had driven to the OSU 32. On the first play after the change in quarterbacks, Demps was tackled for a 2-yard loss, killing a chance to sustain much-needed momentum for a struggling offense.

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