Gators close season with 24-17 win over Ohio State
They won’t be listed anywhere among the best, but at least the 2011 Florida football team won’t be forever linked with the worst.
Desperate to keep from becoming the first Florida team to finish with a losing season in 33 years, the Gators mustered up enough pride, defense and key special teams plays to earn a 24-17 Gator Bowl win over Ohio State in front of an announced crowd of 61.312 at EverBank Field Monday afternoon.
The postgame celebration that overtook the players and coaches on the field following the game gave a genuine glimpse of just how important the win was for Florida (7-6).
Florida first-year coach Will Muschamp said he was happy with the win, but reiterated that the team's performance this season isn't the standard Florida expects, and promised the program won't stay down for long.
"I think the realization of this whole thing – if you really want to see the big picture – is in the last two years at the University of Florida, we are 15-11,'' Muschamp said. "That’s unacceptable, but that’s what we are. And it’s been a staff that had a guy that won two national championships (Urban Meyer) and is a heck of a coach, but we are one game’s difference from last year. We’re 7-6, they were 8-5 last year. So sometimes I think you have to put your realistic glasses on with where you are and what you are as a program right at this point. And it’s not where we’re going to be very long, I can assure you of that. We’re moving in the right direction. . I’m very pleased with the attitude, effort and drive of our young men. They kept fighting in the game, and they did it the entire season. It wasn’t always what we wanted at times. I’ve said it before and I mean it sincerely, we’re not building a team, we’re building a program. And that takes a foundation to start and you stay the course of what you’re trying to do.’’
Here is more from Muschamp following Monday's game: