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Last updated: 01/03/2012 9:37 AM
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Buckeye Watch - The 2012 Gator Bowl

By Tony Gerdeman

What a perfect capper to the 2011 season—yet another loss to a bad team. Even with no possibility of postseason play next year, it will still be more meaningful to most than this year has been.

There wasn't much to like about this game, but at least you were never that invested to begin with.

I know Gene Smith thought this was an important game, but how many times were you looking at the clock wishing this game would just end and take the entirety of 2011 with it?

And now you're here to go through it again?

Don't worry, I'll make it quick.

11:09  ESPN Gameday is talking about how the Big Ten sucks. This is like going to a high school reunion every year and being reminded about being made to eat a urinal cake.

“Ha ha ha! It was in your teeth for days! Remember when you said it tasted like salty, soapy strawberries?! And then you cried. That was awesome. Good times. Good times.”

11:35 Everybody on the Gameday set is picking Ohio State. I sense a badness approaching.

12:15 So Jake Stoneburner is definitely out today. That means it will be harder for Florida to tell when Ohio State is going to run or throw because Reid Fragel won't leave for Stoneburner on passing downs.

12:16 On the defensive side, Orhian Johnson is out, which means the safeties will be C.J. Barnett and Christian Bryant all day long. I love Bryant's potential, he just has to eliminate the mistakes.

1:02 What's with the terribly dramatic music during these intros for a game between two .500 teams? Like being greeted by 'Pomp and Circumstance' every time you flush the toilet.

1:03 I must have to go to the bathroom.

1:05 Ohio State kicks off. The ball goes out of bounds after touching the goal line. The ball is placed at the 40-yard line. Great start. Ryan Shazier and Andrew Sweat are both in the starting lineup. Let's see how they do.

1:06 Long out route to Deonte Thompson, who makes a tough catch for the first time all season. Good thing football doesn't have a three-point line or else we'd already know who was going to go off on the Buckeyes today.

1:07 Jeff Demps gets tackled for a loss of two by Etienne Sabino. Starting 2012 in the right way.

1:09 Third and five. Shotgun. John Brantley gets hit from the blind side by Adam Bellamy and he forces the incompletion. It was nearly a fumble. Bellamy jumped right over the cut block.

1:10 Now they are going to review the play. The whistle was blown, so Ohio State wasn't even given an opportunity to recover the fumble. Too close to call. I can see that being called a fumble, but what do you do with the ball? It was never recovered by Ohio State until well after the whistle.

1:13 Here's the call. The ball was fumbled and recovered by Ohio State. Wow. How is that even possible? Nice job by Garrett Goebel to pick the ball up after the whistle blew.

1:14 Huge break. Now do something with it. False start J. B. Shugarts. The second play from scrimmage. That might be a record for Shugarts.

1:15 Pistol. Three wide. Strong to the right side. Speed option to the left for seven yards, plus a 15-yard late hit. We'll take that. SEC discipline. Pretty sneaky of Jim Bollman to call the speed option to the weak side for once.

1:18 Third and 18. It's QB draw time. Shotgun. Yep, Braxton Miller takes off, picks up three yards. That was easy. Time to punt. And the punt goes into the endzone.

1:20 Well, Ohio State had things going good, and then Bollman stopped being conservative. This is what happens when you try to be something that you are not. This is why all of my jeans are blue, and not red or green.

1:23 I have successfully avoided having Dale Earnhardt Junior on my television for all of my life, yet ESPN2 sees a need to talk to him during Ohio State football? Again, why was this bowl game more important than anything in the 2012 season?

1:31 Third and six. Brantley hits Chris Rainey in the slot down the seam. I love how every other team in the nation does this. That was a gain of 20 yards. Tyler Moeller couldn't stay with him.

1:34 Whoa. John Simon just destroyed Brantley and he's hurt. He left Gators in his wake because Xavier Nixon is also hurt. He went down when Brantley landed on his knee. The offensive line has had issues with the defensive ends already. It's not going to get better if Nixon is done as well.

1:37 Brantley stays in. Third and four from the Ohio State 16-yard line. Brantley drops back, finds Deonte Thompson in the endzone for the touchdown. It's dropped! Now they're saying he caught it. Eh, he caught it well enough, or at least better than he has for most of the season. There goes the kick. Now Luke Fickell is mad because there was no replay. Luke wanted a timeout and they didn't give it to them. Florida leads it 7-0. This is so much better than playing in Indianapolis next season. Especially since the underclassmen don't deserve it.

1:41 Boom Herron gets the carry and picks up six yards, and then fumbles it and Florida recovers it at the 32-yard line. “Tyler Moeller came up with it on the bounce” per Mike Patrick. If only. After replay, Boom was down. Clearly. Florida's trying to run a play and it barely gets stopped.

1:44 After further review the ruling on the field stands. Meaning they got it wrong and couldn't overturn it. How unfortunate. Oh well, the experience of the bowl game is more important than actually succeeding in said bowl.

1:45 Brantley fumbles the snap and Ohio State jumps on it. What a mess. Sabino got it.

1:46 Boom runs the exact same play that he just fumbled on and he picks up 13 yards. He seems mad. We have reached the end of the first quarter. Florida leads it 7-0.

1:50 Motion. Draw to Herron picks up two. This is exactly the open attack that I expected in this game. Ten rushes and zero passes. Though technically two passes were called.

1:51 Tons of motion today. Why was that so hard to do in the past? Play-action throw back screen to Jeff Heuerman for 25 yards. Why is this saved like a precious mineral in a 6-6 season? It should be run 25 times in a season, not three.

1:53 Second and goal at the five-yard line. No read option at all today. Shotgun. Could see it here. Nope, Miller drops back and zips the slant to Devier Posey for the touchdown! Love all of the pre-snap movement. The ballgame is tied up at 7-7. Miller was outstanding on that drive. And a slant. Holy cow.

1:58 Kickoff. Andre Debose fields it at the one-yard line and...uh...he's gone. Debose for 99 yards untouched down the sideline. That's cool, I want to see Braxton some more. Mike Patrick says “You can't teach speed.” Um, it was blocking. You can teach blocking. Florida leads it 14-7.

2:00 Jordan Hall fields the kickoff at the seven-yard line and is tackled at the 22-yard line. He looks remarkably slow and indecisive today.

2:05 Speed option left. Loses two yards. Miller never looked at the pitch and it was available. Clearly, that's one area that he will have to improve upon next year.

2:06 Third and twelve. Play-action and Miller gets sacked. Nobody open. Ronald Powell jumped on him like an old, beat up couch. Ben Buchanan's punt is fair caught at the 19-yard line.

2:09 Time for a John Brantley interception, isn't it?

2:12 Nope. Instead Florida goes three and out. Wow. Ugly shank of a punt. That punt was offensive to shanks. Out of bounds at the 50-yard line with 4:57 to play.

2:15 Need more Posey. Instead the give goes to Herron for five up the middle. I type that a lot. It's probably the thing I've typed the most in my life. “...up the middle”. I should have a macro recorded for it. If I just shorten it to “UTM” next year, is that cool?

2:15 Toss play to the left for Boom. He picks up nine yards. Toss plays. Two of them today alone! That makes four on the season.

2:19 Play-action. Miller is going for six to an open Posey in the endzone and it was overthrown. Ouch. He was wide open. I don't care if you can't fit a football into a tight window, you absolutely can't blow passes to wide open receivers.

2:23 Third and six from the Florida 19-yard line. Miller is sacked instantly by Jaye Howard. The entire offensive line was destroyed by Howard. Norwell had no shot. Howard knew the snap count, per usual. Wow. No timeout for Florida? Okay.

2:24 That leaves a 47-yard field goal attempt for Basil. Drills it with 15 seconds to play in the half. Florida leads it 14-10.

Squib kick to Debose and he's out to the 44-yard line with seven seconds to play.

2:26 And now the Gators call their final timeout? This clock management is certainly befitting a bowl game that was deemed by Gene Smith to be more important than the entire 2012 season combined.

2:28 Jacoby Brissett is in now at quarterback. Delay of game. Who is coordinating this offense? And now they take a knee. Hilarious stuff. Or at least it would be hilarious if Ohio State wasn't losing to them.

2:30 Fun fact:  former Ohio State offensive linemen are tweeting that the snap count is always on one.

2:38 The Buckeyes have had the ball nearly six more minutes than the Gators and it still doesn't seem like they can get a groove. Boom is running well, but even he only has eight carries. I'm waiting for him to break one. Ohio State has to do something with these snaps

2:41 Getting the ball out of halftime will allow the Buckeyes to establish whatever they want the second half to look like. Defensively they have to feel great, and I'm sure their confidence is just fine on that side of the ball. Offensively, maybe go on “two” every now and then.

2:51 Here we go. Hall picks up a slow 16 yards on the kickoff return.

2:54 The Buckeyes are already out to midfield. The give goes to Boom who sheds a tackler for a gain of three, but there's a bad flag down. Holding on Mike Brewster. Drive killer.

2:56 Third and ten. Shotgun. Here comes the blitz. Miller holds it too long and is sacked. Have to get rid of it. He had enough time.

2:57 Punt. Blocked. Ballgame. Florida returns the blocked punt for a touchdown. They overwhelmed the three blockers with four rushers. Gotta love the spread punt formation. Florida leads it 21-10. Special teams. Who knew?

3:02 Boom gets five up the middle. Up the middle. Up the middle. Repeat 1,000 times.

3:03 Quarterback draw and Miller picks up 20 yards. He barely got out of the line of scrimmage's grasp. There was a cornerback blitz headed right for him. Sneaky of Bollman to call that on second and eleven instead of third and eleven for a change.

3:05 Third and eight. False start Shugarts. Gonna miss that when it's gone.

3:06 Third and 13. Miller rolls out and gets sacked for a loss of two. Just disgusting football. Nobody can get open. The punt rolls to the nine-yard line. It barely got off.

3:11 Trey Burton keeps it for the second consecutive time on the wildcat and picks up about 14. Ohio State has sucked defending the wildcat all season. Put that on the list of things to fix in 2012.

3:13 Third and eight. This is really a big play here even though nobody seems to care anymore. Five wide. Intercepted on the tip by Tyler Moeller and he falls to the ground. Stay up! Midfield. They'll take it.

3:15 Third and six. Shotgun. Slant to Posey who then fumbles it and Florida recovers it. Good thing Boom Herron and Devier Posey got to play in a bowl game this year so that nobody else gets to next year.

3:23 Third and eight. Mike Patrick is warning the defense about a draw play. Demps gets it and picks up ten yards on the draw. First and goal. Everybody knew it but the defense. When Mike Patrick knows something is coming, it can't be that hard to decipher.

3:25 We have reached the end of the third quarter. Florida leads it 21-10. Only one more quarter of 2011 to contend with.

3:29 Third and goal. Mike Gillislee picks up three yards and is slammed by Etienne Sabino at the one-yard line. Sabino is slamming people today. Well, two people.

3:30 Wow. Will Muschamp decides to kick the field goal. Kick is good. Buckeyes dodge a bullet. Gators lead it 24-10 with 14:09 to play. Muschamp decided not to end the game, thereby giving Ohio State a glimmer of hope.

3:34 Play-action. Miller avoids the sack and throws it away. Florida grabbed his facemask. That's 15 yards. It's also Ohio State's best offense..

3:36 Tunnel screen to Jordan Hall for a loss of about five. Bostic read it before Miller.

3:36 Ohio State punts. Flags down on the return. Florida will start from their own nine-yard line.

3:38 What a benefit that Braxton Miller has gotten from these bowl practices.

3:44 Second and five. Jeff Demps picks up nine yards, and Christian Bryant is chirping for some reason.

3:46 Third and two. Burton gets dropped for a loss of five. Sabino blitzed and tripped Burton up with 6:45 to play. Florida's punt bounces dead at the 13-yard line.

3:51 Blitz. The screen to Herron is read perfectly and Boom is dropped for a loss of two. Anything Ohio State can come up with Florida is ready for.

3:52 Third and five. Blitz. Miller goes down the sideline long for Posey who wasn't open. I hate going long on third and less than long. Buchanan's punt is downed at the 31-yard line.

3:57 Third and five for Florida. Gillislee picks up a yard. OSU calls timeout with 3:16 to play. Johnathan Hankins with a tackle. One of his first. Just hasn't been the same since the injury to his knee.

3:58 The punt is downed at the twelve-yard line. .

3:59 Jim Bollman's last stand. Shotgun. Splits. Complete to the 25-yard line to Fields over the middle. Over the middle to a slot receiver, eh? That seems just crazy enough to work. But don't call it too often or else the defense will suspect you of witchcraft.

4:01 Shotgun. Miller is going deep to Devin Smith and it's caught at the 27-yard line. Great catch by the criminally under-used Devin Smith. The television is now showing Jake Stoneburner. Too bad Jake, juniors don't deserve bowl games per Gene Smith. Hope you enjoyed watching this one instead. Maybe you can deserve something one day in the NFL.

4:04 Second and four from the eleven-yard line. Miller throws it in the flats to Hall and he ducks, dives and dodges into the endzone for the touchdown! With 57 seconds to play. 24-17 Florida leads. Braxton Miller was 6-6 for 82 yards on that drive. All teams should play prevent defense.

4:06 Here comes the onside kick. Really? Why are you kicking it to the short side of the field? Florida recovers. OSU had no shot at that one. If Florida hadn't caught it, it would have gone out of bounds because the ball ran out of territory. Who kicks an onside kick to the short side? Ballgame. Florida wins 24-17.

4:07 Does anything else need to be said about this game? Another bad loss to a bad team in the longest year on record. Even the players are ready to move on, especially the seniors.

4:08 By the time you read this—if you read this—the Spring Game will only be 109 days away. Enjoy your time away. But be ready to go hard once spring hits.

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