Ohio State is no longer Gator bait.
It's a long way from making up for all the grief that Florida has dished out to Ohio State over the last year, but the Buckeyes got a tiny measure of revenge yesterday with a 62-49 victory over the Gators in Columbus.
It was a rematch of the schools in last year's national-championship games in basketball and football. The Gators won those matchups handily.
"To get beat in a national-championship game, to be 40 minutes away from beating the best team in the nation, it's always going to stick in a player's mind," said Jamar Butler, the only returning starter from either team from last April's basketball title game.
Kosta Koufos led the Buckeyes (8-3) with 17 points, while Butler added 13. David Lighty had 11 for Ohio State, which won its fourth straight game and seems to be gaining much-needed confidence as it draws closer to its Big Ten opener Jan. 3 at Illinois.
Jai Lucas led Florida with 11 points. The Gators (11-2) were facing perhaps their toughest test of the season. They had yet to leave the state of Florida and had played most of their games before raucous, partisan crowds.
Ohio State figured it owed Florida. After all, the Gators didn't just beat the Buckeyes twice last year on the court - 86-60 in Gainesville in the regular season and 84-75 in the national-title game in Atlanta - but also put a 41-14 beating on the football team in last January's national-championship game in Glendale, Ariz.