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.
“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.”