Tampa, Fla. - Joe Paterno and Urban Meyer met at midfield for a postgame handshake and hug, the 84-year-old Penn State coach looking forward to next season, the 46-year-old Florida coach heading toward some time away from the game. Meyer closed out a successful six-year run that included a pair of national championships by leading the Gators back from a second-half deficit to beat the Nittany Lions.
“I’m at full peace because I saw a bunch of smiles in that locker room,” said Meyer , who announced his resignation last month. “Locker rooms really aren’t very much fun when there’s ... a pain in your stomach and your chest and everything else. There was a lot of fun in there. A lot of fun.”
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 TD to help Florida (8-5) send Meyer out with a smile of his own.
Paterno spent the week leading up to the game repeatedly shooting down rumors that the Outback Bowl could be his last.
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“He said, ‘I love you kid,’” Meyer said about his quick postgame meeting on the field with Paterno. “He’s the only one who calls me kid. And I love him, too.”