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Outback Bowl Recap: Turnovers Doom Penn State Against Florida

(Sports Network) - Ahmad Black's interception return for a touchdown in the final minute sealed a back-and-forth Outback Bowl, as Urban Meyer ended his successful tenure at Florida with a 37-24 victory over Penn State.

Meyer previously announced he was stepping down as Florida's head coach due to family reasons, and he fittingly bookended his six-year reign with Outback Bowl wins, this one coming against the all-time bowl wins leader in Joe Paterno.

Meyer finished his tenure at Florida with a 65-15 record. He is handing over the reins to former Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.

"It feels great because Will Muschamp is getting a good group of young men and on a positive note," Meyer said. "Will Muschamp is getting a football team that's going to have some bright eyes and ready to get to work."

Jordan Reed and John Brantley split time under center for Florida (8-5), with Reed tossing for 61 yards and adding 68 more on the ground. Brantley completed 6-of-13 passes for 41 yards while Omarius Hines and Mike Gillislee each rushed for a score.

Matt McGloin threw for 211 yards with a touchdown and added another score on the ground for Penn State (7-6), but the sophomore quarterback was intercepted five times.

After punting in Florida territory with just over four minutes left in regulation, the Nittany Lions, trailing 30-24, earned the ball back at their own 21 with 3:04 to go.

Evan Royster's 23-yard romp moved the ball into enemy territory, and another seven-yard gain by Penn State's all-time leading rusher gained the Florida 25. The comeback stopped there, as Black undercut a poorly-thrown ball at the 20 and raced up the left sideline unabated for the clinching touchdown.

Brantley threw an interception on Florida's first play from scrimmage, and the Lions took the early lead when Derek Moye capped a 10-play, 61-yard march with a five-yard grab.

Trey Burton fumbled into the end zone following Black's first interception of the game, but the Gators recovered and tied the game off another McGloin turnover early in the second.

Following Cody Riggs' pick deep in PSU territory, Hines took an end around pitch 16 yards to paydirt 2:12 into the quarter.

Later in the frame, a big hit by Black caused Justin Brown to drop a third- down pass near midfield, proving pivotal because on the next play Solomon Patton came off the left end and blocked Alex Butterworth's punt. Lerentee McCray scooped up the loose ball and took it 27 yards for a 14-7 advantage.

"He was a little slow punting it," Paterno said. "The operation wasn't really that good."

Penn State answered quickly, thanks in part to Moye's impressive 44-yard catch that put the ball on the Florida one-yard line. From there, Michael Zordich bulled his way over the goal line, and Penn State tacked on a 20-yard Collin Wagner field goal for a 17-14 halftime lead.

Chas Henry booted a 30-yard field goal six minutes into the third quarter, and with the game still tied, 17-17, the Gators tried a fake punt that was stopped short of the first-down marker. Penn State took advantage of the short field and went ahead on McGloin's two-yard run.

Henry nailed a 47-yard field goal to cut into the deficit, and following McGloin's third interception of the game, Florida again rolled the dice on fourth down.

This time the decision worked, as Reed found Burton for a three-yard gain on 4th-and-2 from the PSU 17-yard line. A borderline pass interference penalty on third down kept the drive alive, and Gillislee took it in from a yard out with 13:02 remaining in the game.

Henry pushed the margin to 30-24 with a 20-yard field goal midway through the fourth.

Game Notes

The game was the only bowl matchup this season featuring two head coaches who have won a national championship. Both have two titles to their credit...Florida was making its 20th consecutive bowl appearance...Paterno, who turned 84 two weeks ago, fell to 24-12-1 in bowl games at Penn State...Royster logged 98 yards on 20 carries and became the first player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards three times...Moye caught five passes for 79 yards...McGloin completed only 17-of-41 attempts...Reed was 8-of-13 through the air...Chris Rainey gained 66 yards on six carries for Florida, which won the previous two meetings between the programs, upending the Nittany Lions in the 1962 Gator Bowl and the 1998 Florida Citrus Bowl.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.