- Associated Press - Monday, January 2, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FLA. (AP) - Florida’s special teams came up big in the Gator Bowl, scoring twice as the Gators beat Ohio State 24-17 on Monday in a game between Urban Meyer’s old team and his future one.

Andre Debose returned a kickoff 99 yards _ the longest scoring play in bowl history _ and Chris Rainey blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown.

The speedsters helped the Gators (7-6) avoid their first losing season since 1979 and pick up some much-needed momentum after losing six of their previous eight games.

Ohio State (6-7) finished below .500 for the first time since 1986. The Buckeyes can take solace in knowing that Meyer, who officially takes over at Ohio State this week, will make it a priority to improve special teams. Meyer did that in his six seasons in Gainesville, and Rainey and Debose were two of his most prized recruits.