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The latest on college sports in Florida

Gators to face Ohio State in Gator Bowl, Dominique Easley out with ACL



As expected, Florida has been invited to play in the Gator Bowl and will face Ohio State.

The game will be held on Jan. 2, at 1 p.m.

Although former Florida coach Urban Meyer is now the new head coach at Ohio State, the bowl game will be coached by acting head coach Luke Fickell.

Both teams will enter the game with a 6-6 record.

"We've got the best fans in the country and they are upset and frustrated and I don't blame them,'' Muschamp said. "But our guys are going to work hard to put on a good show for the fans in the bowl game.''

The Gators will be without two key members of the team - strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti and starting DT Dominique Easley. Marotti has left the staff to join Meyer at Ohio State. Easley tore his ACL in the Florida State game and will undergo surgery on Wednesday.

Ohio State coach Luke Fickell said despite the Buckeyes' struggles, his team deserves an opportunity to play in a bowl game and there was never any discussion about turning down a bowl invitation.

"These guys deserve it,'' Fickell said. "All the stuff they’ve been through, the ups and downs, the struggles, they deserve it. I don’t think you can take a step back and just do that (turn it down) unless it’s mandated. This is a chance for us to get better. To have these 15 or 16 practices is an opportunity for us to get better.''

The Gators will be making their 21st consecutive bowl appearance, which ranks first in the SEC and second nationally. This will also be Florida’s 18th January bowl game since 1993, the highest total in the country, and will be the team’s ninth appearance in the Gator Bowl.

This will be just the second meeting  between Florida and Ohio State. The two met in 2007 in the BCS National Championship game in which the Gators won, 41-14. 

Florida is 19-19 all-time in bowls and owns a 6-2 record in the Gator Bowl, with its most recent trip a 27-10 victory over N.C. State on Dec. 31, 1992.

[Last modified: Sunday, December 4, 2011 7:59pm]


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