The Outback Bowl 2011 was a prestigious affair. Of course, the Outback Bowl 2011 was high profile in name only, since the teams involved aren’t as strong as usual. Florida vs Penn State would normally make for a huge showdown, with major national implications. Instead, both teams came in at 7-5, with the Gators heading for an uncertain future, and the Nittany Lions preparing for another offseason of Joe Paterno retirement questions. But the Outback Bowl 2011 score allowed Florida to send Urban Meyer out on a high note, with a 37-24 victory.
The Nittany Lions and Gators had disappointing regular seasons, which devalued what would otherwise have been a massive showdown. Nevertheless, the buzz around the coaches filled up the hype, as this was Urban Meyer’s last game for Florida, while Joe Paterno had to once again deny retirement rumors.
As for the actual Outback Bowl 2011, the score favored Penn State early, while Florida dealt with early interceptions and fumbles. Yet a blocked punt led to a touchdown in the second quarter, which gave the Gators a 14-7 lead. However, the Nittany Lions rallied for a 17-14 lead at halftime.
The Gators made another mistake with a failed fake punt, which helped the Nittany Lions a 24-17 lead in the third. However, Penn State quarterback Matthew McGloin was hardly mistake free himself, as he threw a total of five interceptions.
Finally, the Outback Bowl 2011 score turned for the Gators, when a Mike Gillislee 1-yard run gave them a 27-24 advantage. With Florida up 30-24, however, Penn State made a drive into Gators’ territory for the win. Yet with over a minute left, McGloin’s fifth pick resulted in a 80-yard touchdown return by Ahmad Black.
With the 37-24 win finally secured, the Gators will begin a brand new era without Meyer. Will Muschamp will now take over, potentially with Charlie Weis as his offensive coordinator. This first year without Tim Tebow, and final season with Meyer, was less than ideal for Gators’ fans spoiled by national championships. Still, Muschamp seeks to bring new promise, while Meyer finally takes a rest.
However, the Outback Bowl 2011 score completed the latest mediocre season for Penn State. The Nittany Lions finished 7-6, in another season where they could only make a minor New Year’s Day bowl. With one more year left on Paterno’s contract, and with the team not on top of the Big Ten, a contentious offseason may be ahead.
For the Gators, their victory in the Outback Bowl 2011 may help pave the way for a better season ahead. After all, the Auburn Tigers had a thrilling win in this game last year, before their current national title run. Either way, this win brings an end to a major era in Gainesville, like last season’s Sugar Bowl triumph did.
Yahoo Sports- “Florida’s Meyer exits with win in Outback Bowl”