Ohio State/Florida—A Few Opening Thoughts...
The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Florida Gators would both probably like to forget their 2011 regular seasons and head into the off season on a high note with a win in the 2012 Gator Bowl.
This will be the final game for the current Buckeye coaching staff. As you may have heard, Ohio State hired some guy by the name of Urban Meyer to take over their program next season.
While Luke Fickell and his staff have been focused on their final game, Meyer has been focused on catapulting the Ohio State 2012 recruiting class from barely in the top 25, up into the top 10.
Team Overview / Players of Note
The Florida Gator offense ranks 102nd nationally at 334 yards per game. They are 9th in total defense, allowing an average of 299.6 yards per game, and rank 9th in points allowed per game (20.6).
Quarterback John Brantley -- who has passed for 1,912, yards with 10 touchdowns and six interceptions -- is expected to start for the Gators, while freshmen Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel could also each play. Both have struggled, however, combining for just 354 yards and two touchdowns, with six INTs.
Running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps split carries and combined for 1,329 yards and eight touchdowns.
Andre Debose and Chris Rainey were the top two receivers for Florida with 15 catches for 423 yards and 28 catches for 350 yards respectively. Debose caught four passes for scores while Rainey added two touchdown catches.
Ohio State is 107th in total offense (320 yards per game) nationally. They are 24th in total defense, allowing an average of 328.6 yards per game, and rank 27th in points allowed per game (20.8).
The Silver Bullets had 23 sacks and 12 interceptions during the regular season.
QB Braxton Miller passed for 997 passing yards with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions and ran for another 695 yards seven rushing touchdowns.
Tailback Dan Herron finished second on the team with 596 yards and three scores, followed closely by Carlos Hyde with 549 yards and six scores.
The Buckeye passing game was very inconsistent and the receiving statistics reflect that. Devin Smith led the team in yardage with 247 yards on 12 catches, including four for scores. Corey Brown was second with 14 catches for 205 yards and tight end Jake Stoneburner finished the regular season with 14 catches and 193 yards.
Ohio State—Florida History Lesson And Trends
• Ohio State is 0-1 all-time vs. Florida.
• Ohio State is 20-22 all-time is bowl games.
• Ohio State last played in the Gator Bowl in 1978.
• Ohio State is 1-10 in bowl games vs. SEC opponents.
• Ohio State is making their 11th straight bowl games appearance, a streak that will end next year.
• Ohio State's defense has held opponent to fewer than 10 points 31 times since 2006.
• Ohio State's defense has allowed just nine 100-yard rushers in their last 48 games.
• Ohio State has held 67 opponents to 21 points or less since the start of the 2005 season.
• Florida is 6-2 all-time in the Gator Bowl.
• Florida is making their 21st consecutive bowl game appearance.
• Florida went 0-5 during the regular season vs. top 25 teams, while Ohio State went 2-4.
Final Thoughts and Score Prediction
Something has to give and it's not likely going to be Ohio State's defense.
The Gators lost six of their last eight games to end the season and in those games, they averaged less than 225 yards and 12 points.
Look for the Silver Bullets to ramp up the heat on Brantley -- who was picked off three times in the season finale by Florida State -- and to score or at least set up an easy score or two for Miller and the OSU offense.
This meeting feels like it's going to be close throughout with moderate scoring, unlike the 41-14 loss Ohio State suffered at the hands of their new coach and his 2006 Gators team, but Miller and the Buckeye defense SHOULD be the difference.
Ohio State 27
"To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when no one else will" - Sugar Ray Robinson
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