Meyer wins Florida finale against Penn State
Gators pull away for 37-24 triumph in Outback Bowl
Urban Meyer walked away from Florida with a win against Joe Paterno, who insists Penn State’s disappointing season won’t be his last.
Meyer closed out a highly successful six-year run that included a pair of national championships by leading the Gators back from a second-half deficit to beat JoePa’s Nittany Lions, 37-24, in the Outback Bowl on Saturday in Tampa.
Omarius Hines and Mike Gillislee ran for touchdowns, Chas Henry kicked three second-half field goals and Ahmad Black sealed the win with an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown to help Florida (8-5) send Meyer out with a smile.
The 46-year-old coach resigned last month because of health concerns and to spend more time with his family.
Meyer and the 84-year-old Paterno met at midfield for a postgame handshake that was anything but typical.
“He said, ‘I love you, kid,’ ” Meyer said. “He’s the only one who calls me kid. And I love him, too.”
As for Paterno, he, his wife and Penn State officials spent the week leading up to the game repeatedly shooting down rumors that the Outback Bowl could be his last game.
He expects to be back for a 46th season with Penn State (7-6). At one point, he called the speculation about his future — including reports that he might be in poor health and had been hospitalized — “ridiculous.” He reiterated Friday that he has no plans to retire.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL: Mark Ingram ran for two scores to break the Alabama career touchdown record, and the No. 15 Crimson Tide rolled past seventhMichigan State, 49-7, in Orlando in the most lopsided Capital One Bowl in history.
The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner had 59 yards rushing against the team he rooted for as a child, Greg McElroy threw for 220 yards and one touchdown and Alabama (10-3) pulled most of its starters in the third quarter. Ingram moved past Shaun Alexander’s mark with 42 career touchdowns.
The Crimson Tide found the end zone on its first four possessions, held the Spartans (11-2) to 171 total yards and sacked Kirk Cousins four times.
The margin of victory topped East Texas State’s 33-0 victory over Tennessee Tech in the 1953 game, then known as the Tangerine Bowl. The bowl dates from 1947.
GATOR BOWL: Chris Relf threw three touchdown passes, Vick Ballard ran for three scores and No. 21Mississippi State overwhelmed Michigan, 52-14, in Jacksonville, Fla.
The 38-point drubbing was the worst bowl loss in Michigan’s storied history and may have sealed the fate of Wolverines Coach Rich Rodriguez. His threeyear tenure has been tainted by consecutive losing seasons, NCAA sanctions and late-season slides.
Michigan (7-6) was out of this game early, done in again by a defense that made a middle-ofthe- Southeastern Conference offense look like a juggernaut.
Relf and Ballard posed problems all day. Relf completed 18 of 23 passes for 281 yards, and added 49 yards on the ground. Ballard ran for 77 yards. The Bulldogs (9-4) finished with 485 yards and punted twice.
Denard Robinson, the Big Ten’s offensive player of the year, played every snap for Michigan and was dynamic as usual. He threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 58 yards. But he received little help.
Now, he might get a new coach.
Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon has not offered any public support for Rodriguez, who fell to 15-22 at Michigan and 1-11 against ranked teams. Brandon has said he will evaluate Rodriguez after the game. Speculation has been that he will fire Rodriguez and try to hire Stanford Coach and former Wolverines quarterback JimHarbaugh to lead college football’s winningest program.
Rodriguez’s buyout dropped from $4 million to $2.5 million Saturday.
TICKETCITY BOWL: Taylor Potts threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns and scored another on a trick play, and Eric Stephens ran 86 yards for a touchdown to help Texas Tech close its first post-Mike Leach season at a solid 8-5 with a 45-38 win over Northwestern in Dallas.
Tuberville became the fourth coach to win a bowl game at three schools, having also done it at Auburn and Mississippi.
Northwestern (7-6) lost its eighth straight bowl game, extending a drought that dates from 1949.