Gator Bowl storylines


The University of Florida's Chris Rainey (1) runs with the ball during the first half of a game against Furman University at the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Nov. 19, 2011. Florida won the game 54-32.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, January 2, 2012 at 10:18 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 2, 2012 at 10:18 a.m.

The Meyer Bowl

Facts

67th Gator Bowl

Who: Florida (6-6) vs. Ohio State (6-6)
When: Today, 1 p.m.
Where: EverBank Field in Jacksonville
On TV: ESPN2 Radio: 103.7 FM, AM-850

Former Florida and future Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has been laying low all week and says he may not even watch the entire game today. But the specter of Meyer is all over this bowl game. His name has come up at just about every single media opportunity (for UF and Ohio State) and it likely will be mentioned over and over during today's ESPN2 telecast. The Meyer angle is huge, even though UF coach Will Muschamp and others have done their best to downplay it this week.

The night the fog rolled in

The last time the Gators played in the Gator Bowl in 1992, it was hard at times to tell what was going on in much of the second half because a heavy fog settled in off the St. Johns River and settled over the stadium. The Gators, who had lost to Alabama in the first SEC Championship Game earlier in the month, saw well enough to defeat North Carolina State 27-10. Steve Spurrier angered the Wolfpack for what they perceived to be running up the score when Shane Matthews threw a 34-yard TD pass to Harrison Houston in the final minutes. Spurrier defended the call, saying when a defense puts nine or 10 men on the line of scrimmage you've got to throw it over their heads -- and he did.

The ghost of Woody

The last time the Buckeyes played in the Gator Bowl in 1978 it ended in shame and embarrassment for OSU and legendary coach Woody Hayes, who let his legendary temper get the best of him late in a 17-15 loss to Clemson. With the Buckeyes driving toward a potential game-winning field goal with about two minutes to play, Clemson linebacker Charlie Bauman intercepted a pass and was knocked out of bounds on the OSU sideline. While he was celebrating, Hayes came up and punched him, right in front of a national television audience. Woody never coached again -- and he never apologized to Bauman, who now lives in Ohio.

This is the Gators' bowl

Although it's been a long time since Florida played in the Gator Bowl, this is the first bowl game the Gators ever played in (in 1953 against Tulsa) and the bowl game UF has played the most in its history. So this is the Gators' bowl. Today will mark UF's ninth appearance in the Gator Bowl. Not only have the Gators played in this game a lot, they've won it a lot. UF's Gator Bowl record is 6-2 going into today's game. UF's only losses were to Ole Miss in 1958 and Maryland in 1975.

Today's game questions

1. Will the struggling Florida offense be any different under interim offensive coordinator Brian White?

2. Will the Gator defense, which struggles against the run, be able to contain dual-threat quarterback Braxton Miller, who is coming off his best game of the season against Michigan?

3. Will Florida's speedy mini-tailbacks (Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps) have any success running against a big, physical Ohio State defense?

4. The Florida defense is coming off perhaps its best performance of the season. Will the improved overall play continue against a struggling OSU offense?

5. Can the Gators take care of the football on offense and create some turnovers on defense?

Click back for the answers after today's game.

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