by CFP Staff
January 1, 2011
Florida sent head coach Urban Meyer out as a winner with a 37-24 Outback Bowl win over Joe Paterno and Penn State.
The Gators needed a late interception return for a touchdown to secure the win over the coach with the most bowl appearances (36), bowl victories (24) and NCAA wins (401).
Meyer's 6-year tenure in Gainesville brought the school two BCS national titles. He announced his resignation, effective after the season, back on December 8th. Three days later, Florida hired Texas defensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp as Meyer's replacement. Ironically, Muschamp was a 4-year letterman at safety for rival Georgia.
Meyer leaves with a 65-15 record at Florida where he guided the team to a pair of BCS titles (2006 and 2008). Prior to taking the Florida job, Meyer was 22-2 at Utah and 17-6 at Bowling Green.
Offensive coordinator and associate head coach Steve Addazio also leaves to take over as head coach at Temple.
Florida's 8-5 record this season is the teams's worst under Meyer. His previous low-water mark was a 9-4 campaign in 2007 that was sandwiched between a pair of BCS championships. But Florida did run bowl winning streak to 3 and is 5-1 in its last six bowls. The Gators are 19-19 in their bowl history.
For Penn State, the issue is whether or not Joe Paterno will be back on the Nittany Lions' sideline next season. He turned 84 on December 21st.
Paterno is a living legend who has graced the Penn State sidelines for 61 years, the last 45 of which he as served as the head coach. He owns the most wins in NCAA major college football history (401), bowl victories (24) and appearances (37). Perhaps the one stat that says as much about Paterno's success and unprecedented longevity as any other is his bowl record of 24-12-1. Penn State's bowl record without Paterno as head coach is 3-2-1.
The Nittany Lions have won 4 of their last 6 postseason contests and are 10-4 in such games since 1994.
Penn State finishes the season 7-6.
Florida is 3-0 overall vs. Penn State and all of the meetings have come in bowl games. They met in the 1962 Gator Bowl and the 1997 Citrus Bowl, now known as the Capital One Bowl.
The Gators improved to 2-2 in Outback Bowl appearances, all of which have taken place since 2002. The Nittany Lions fell to 3-1 in Outback appearances, all of which have occurred since 1995.