Florida football: Gators heading west to face Oregon State in the Vegas Bowl

Kevin Brockway
Gator Sports
Florida Gators assistant head coach for cornerbacks Corey Raymond talks with Florida Gators cornerback Avery Helm (24) after a missed play during the second half against the Eastern Washington Eagles at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Sunday, October 2, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

Viva Las Gators. Florida will head west and get its bowl game out of the way early in a matchup with No. 15 Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17.

The SEC-Pac 12 matchup will be the first meeting between the two schools. Florida (6-6, 3-5) will look to end its first season under head coach Billy Napier on a positive note after dropping back-to-back games against Vanderbilt and Florida State to close the regular season.

It will be Florida's seventh matchup against a Top 25 opponent. The Gators went 1-5 against ranked teams during the regular season, with the lone win coming in their season opening 29-26 upset of No. 8 Utah.

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Oregon State (9-3) will enter the bowl game on a three-game win streak, which included a 38-34 win over rival Oregon.

For now, the game is scheduled to air on ABC and kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET. It will be played at domed Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders. There is a chance that the game would move to 2:30 p.m. ET and air on ESPN if the Raiders game against the New England Patriots the following night is flexed out of its 8:20 p.m. Sunday start time.

The matchup will pit Florida's 16th ranked rushing offense nationally (213.7 ypg) against Oregon State's 20th-ranked run defense (114 ypg allowed).

The biggest question for Florida heading into the game is at quarterback, where starter Anthony Richardson could opt out if he declares for the NFL Draft and backup Jalen Kitna was kicked off the team Friday after being arrested on child pornography charges. If Richardson and Kitna aren't available, Florida would slide down to third-string quarterback Jack Miller, who sat out the first half of the season with a broken thumb.

Florida is 24-23 all-time in bowl games. The Gators won three-straight bowls from 2016-19 prior to falling to Oklahoma 55-20 in the 2020 Cotton Bowl, and 29-17 to UCF last year in the Gasparilla Bowl.