JACKSONVILLE (CBSMiami/AP) – The University of Florida Gators will take on the Ohio State Buckeyes on Sunday in the Gator Bowl.
Florida (6-6) beat Ohio State (6-6) 41-14 in the 2007 Bowl Championship Series national title game in the only previous meeting between the schools.
One team will end up with a losing record, something neither has done in decades. Ohio State hasn’t endured a losing season since going 4-6-1 in 1988, the first season under John Cooper. Florida’s last losing mark came in 1979 under Charley Pell. The Gators finished 0-10-1 in Pell’s first season.
Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller has at least 100 yards rushing in three of Ohio State’s last four games, and dual-threat quarterbacks have given the Gators fits this season. South Carolina’s Connor Shaw ran for 88 yards and two scores against Florida, which also allowed at least 40 yards on the ground to Kentucky’s Morgan Newton, Auburn’s Kiehl Frazier and Georgia’s Aaron Murray.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Ohio State: DE John Simon has a team-high seven sacks and will be lined up against a backup. The Gators will be without RT Matt Patchan, forcing struggling Xavier Nixon back into the starting lineup.
Florida: RB Chris Rainey leads the team in rushing and receiving, and if the Gators can get the speedster into open space, it could be a long day for Ohio State. Rainey has 790 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and 28 receptions for 350 yards and two scores.
Ohio State is playing in the Gator Bowl for the first time since an epic ending in 1978, when coach Woody Hayes punched Clemson’s Charlie Bauman following an interception in the closing minutes. The school fired Hayes the following day, ending his 28-year run as head coach. … Ohio State and Florida have developed a recent rivalry, with the programs playing for football and basketball national championships in 2007. Florida’s 41-14 victory in Glendale, Ariz., in January 2007 could provide some motivation.
Florida has won three consecutive bowl games and five of its last six.
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