Instant analysis: Florida 37, Penn State 24

January, 1, 2011
1/01/11
5:09
PM ET
Florida defeated Penn State 37-24 on Saturday in the Outback Bowl.

Here’s an instant analysis from the game:

How the game was won: With Penn State driving for the potential game-winning touchdown, Florida senior safety Ahmad Black intercepted a third-and-3 pass from Penn State’s Matthew McGloin and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown, sending Urban Meyer out a winner in his final game as the Gators’ coach.

Turning point: Penn State was leading 24-20 late in the third quarter when Florida linebacker Brandon Hicks intercepted a McGloin pass and returned it 14 yards to the Penn State 25, setting up Florida’s go-ahead touchdown.

Player of the game: Black had two of the Gators’ five interceptions, including the 80-yard touchdown return to seal the win in the final minute.

Stat of the game: Florida won despite going just 4-of-15 on third down and being outgained in total offense by 70 yards.

Best call: Following the Hicks interception early in the fourth quarter, the Gators had it fourth-and-2 at the Penn State 17. But Meyer passed on kicking the field goal and went for it. Jordan Reed hit Trey Burton with a 3-yard pass to get the first down, and the Gators went on to score the go-ahead touchdown.

What it means: After all the success Meyer has enjoyed in his six seasons at Florida, he deserved to go out a winner, especially given everything that went wrong this season. The Gators (8-5) overcame a lot of distractions to win this game and made several clutch plays when they had to, which should generate some positive energy in the program heading into the offseason as Will Muschamp takes over for Meyer.

Chris Low | email

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