Dec. 4, 2011
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State Buckeyes will meet the Florida Gators in the 2012 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl. The game will kick off at 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 2 in Jacksonville, Fla.. The site is EverBank Field (77,511) and it will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
"The guys will be extremely excited about playing Florida in the Gator Bowl on January 2," Ohio State coach Luke Fickell said. "We are hoping to end the season on a good note."
Both teams finished the regular season with 6-6 records. Ohio State posted a 3-5 Big Ten Conference Leaders Division record while Florida's mark included a 3-5 record in the SEC Eastern Division. The game will also be a chance for each team to move on and rebound from a season-ending loss to their rival. Ohio State fell on the road to Michigan, 40-34, Nov. 26, the same day that Florida dropped a 21-7 decision to Florida State in Gainesville.
"I am excited that the team is going to a bowl game and to have one more chance to win another game as a Buckeye," senior linebacker Andrew Sweat said. "We'll be ready to get back to practice later this week."
And for Ohio State senior center Mike Brewster, his last game as a Buckeye will be in his home state.
"I am happy the way the bowl game worked out," Brewster said. "If we couldn't be in a BCS game, I like the fact that we are playing against a program like Florida that has a rich tradition like Ohio State. And I like it that I'll be playing my last game in my home state in front of friends and family."
Tickets on Sale at 10 a.m. Monday
Tickets are available for the 2012 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl with prices starting at $60.00, plus applicable service charges. Fans interested in purchasing tickets can do so online at OhioStateBuckeyes.com starting Monday, December 5, at 10 a.m. EST.
The following is a direct link to the Athletics Ticket Office web page to purchase tickets: http://go.osu.edu/2012GatorBowlTix
Only Second Meeting
Ohio State and Florida have met only once before on the gridiron, and that meeting was significant. The game was the 2007 BCS National Championship game in Glendale, Ariz., and the No. 2 Gators, coached by Urban Meyer, defeated the No. 1-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, 41-14, to claim the national championship. It was the first of two national championships over a three-year period for Meyer's program.
Fickell: Buckeyes Deserving
Ohio State has played in a bowl game every year since last missing out in 1999, an official streak of 10 consecutive bowl appearances. This year makes 11 consecutive bowl games and Fickell thinks his 6-6 team deserves the opportunity to play.
"These guys deserve this bowl game," Fickell said. "All they've been through...they deserve this."
Gator Bowl History
Ohio State has played in one Gator Bowl. It was the 1978 game between Ohio State and Clemson, and won by the Tigers, 17-15. It was the last game coached by Woody Hayes, something that Fickell is very much aware.
"We'd like to put a completely different spin on Ohio State's Gator Bowl history," Fickell said.
The TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl will be the 42nd bowl game for Ohio State. The Buckeyes are 19-22 all-time in bowl games, including a 2-6 record in bowl games in the state of Florida.
Florida Bowl Games
1977 Orange Bowl - Ohio State 27, Colorado 10
1978 Gator Bowl - Clemson 17, Ohio State 15
1986 Citrus Bowl - Ohio State 10, BYU 7
1993 Citrus Bowl - Georgia 21, Ohio State 14
1995 Citrus Bowl - Alabama 24, Ohio State 17
1996 Citrus Bowl - Tennessee 20, Ohio State 14
2001 Outback Bowl - South Carolina 24, Ohio State 7
2002 Outback Bowl - South Carolina 31, Ohio State 28
Ohio State has nine players on its current roster from the state of Florida. The list includes Sr. C Mike Brewster (Orlando/Edgewater H.S.), Sr. QB Joe Bauserman (Tallahassee Lincoln H.S.), Jr. LB Etienne Sabino, (North Miami Beach/Dr. Krop), Jr. SAF Orhian Johnson (St. Petersburg/Boca Ciega), Jr. CB Travis Howard (Miami/Dr. Krop), So. RB Carlos Hyde (Naples/Naples), Fr. LB Ryan Shazier and Fr. DB Jeremy Cash (both from Plantation/Plantation), and Fr. TE Jeff Heuerman (Naples/Barron Collier).
Luke and Will
Luke Fickell is in his first season as a head coach and will stay on the Ohio State coaching staff following the bowl game when Urban Meyer takes over. Will Muschamp is in his first season as Florida coach.
"I've known Will for a few years," Fickell said. "He's had some ups and downs as well [this year]...probably why we are having a similar season record-wise."
Fickell was optimistic that standout freshman linebacker Ryan Shazier, who injured a knee in the Michigan game, would be available for the bowl game.
"I hope Ryan is ok," Fickell said. "I'm hearing he'll be all right. He'll be excited about playing in the bowl game."
Ohio State students and student-athletes will experience their final fall quarter finals week this week (the university is transitioning to semesters next year). Fickell said he would not get the team back together until at least Thursday of this week.