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Gator Bowl preview: Florida Gators vs. Ohio State Buckeyes; 1 p.m. Monday

When/where: 1 p.m. today; EverBank Field, Jacksonville

TV/radio: ESPN2; 1250-AMLine: Florida by 2

Notable: This is the first meeting between the two schools since Florida's 41-14 victory over Ohio State in the 2006 BCS national championship game, and the Buckeyes' first time in the Gator Bowl since 1978 when they lost to Clemson in Woody Hayes' final game as head coach. Hayes was fired after punching a Clemson player during the game. UF is making its 21st consecutive bowl appearance, which is first in the SEC and second nationally behind Florida State. Both teams are coming off losses in their regular-season finales and in need of a victory to keep from ending the season with losing records.

What to watch for: Ohio State's leading receiver has just 14 receptions on the season, so the passing game isn't nearly the threat that QB Braxton Miller, left, poses for Florida. The Gators have struggled against dual-threat passers, and Miller has improved since the season began. Florida RBs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps are healthy and eager to go out on a winning note, and Ohio State said its biggest concern is the speed of that duo and keeping them contained on the inside. The Gators will be without two key starters, DL Dominique Easley (knee) and OL Matt Patchan (back) out of Armwood. Both teams have spent their bowl practices working heavily on fundamentals, so it should be interesting to see how much each has improved in areas they've struggled with all season.

Antonya English, Times staff writer

Gator Bowl: Florida (6-6) vs. Ohio State (6-6)

Gator Bowl preview: Florida Gators vs. Ohio State Buckeyes; 1 p.m. Monday 01/01/12 [Last modified: Sunday, January 1, 2012 9:22pm]
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