Due respect to the 2018 Peach Bowl, that was in 2018. Maybe we should have seen it coming because 2017 was a year of incredible games for all UCF sports.
Here’s our list of the best:
#17 – Softball: UCF 10, Memphis 6
What is it about when UCF and Memphis play in any sport it turns into a wild game? We know about what happened on the football front. More on that later in rankings. But perhaps Softball was foreshadowing what would happen in Football, as both the Knights and Tigers played a wild shootout on April 9th.
It was a game where Knights senior Linnea Goodman set a school record with five hits. But UCF was on the ropes, leading 10-6 in the bottom of the 7th, with bases loaded and nobody out for Memphis. What would happen next was something that had never happened in softball program history: a triple play to win the game and clinch the series.
#16 – Softball: UCF 5, USF 4 (9)
In what is always an intense battle between the two programs, for the second consecutive year, the Knights-Bulls series came down to extra innings in the final game of a three-game series to deterime the series winner.
And again for a second consecutive year, the Knights won in dramatic fashion, this time on a walk-off hit by freshman Kyra Klarkowski.
#15 (tie) – Men’s Soccer: UCF 3, #22 UConn 2 and UCF 1, UConn 0 (AAC Semifinal)
In front of a big crowd of 5,100, UCF used a goal in the third minute by sophomore Cal Jennings to quiet Joseph J. Morrone Stadium and had a response for each goal by the Huskies in a 3-2 victory over #22 UConn, which was the Knights’ first road win since 2012.
It also started UCF on a run that would lead them to the conference tournament, where they would once again go against the Huskies in the semifinal in Dallas. It would have a dramatic finish as the Knights held on for a 1-0 win to advance to AAC Championship Game. UCF would go on to lose to SMU in overtime in the title match.
#14 – Football: UCF 31, Navy 21
Adrian Killins ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns, McKenzie Milton passed for 233 yards, and the 20th-ranked Knights pulled out an excruciating victory to improve to 6-0 for the first time in school history. The play everyone will remember was late in the 4th quarter following a Milton Interception. The Midshipmen moved inside the UCF 40 before a late pitch to Darryl Bonner, who fumbled when got lit up by cornerback Brandon Moore.
#13 – Baseball: UCF 8, East Carolina 7 (11 innings)
The Knights came back from a 7-1 deficit, and 7-5 in the top of the 9th, to beat East Carolina 8-7 in 11 innings and improve to 3-4 in the American Conference, in what turned out to be the turning point of the season for the Knights. They would go on a run from here on out to win the AAC regular season title and make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012. Here’s a recap of the game as it ended during our podcast that night at the 59-minute mark.
#12 – Men’s Soccer: UCF 2, Cincinnati 1 (OT)
UCF entered overtime knowing they needed a win to earn a berth in The American Championship – otherwise the season would come to an end. UCF sophomore Cal Jennings made sure the Knights’ season would extend into the postseason as he netted a golden goal from 18 yards out in the 94th minute to get the Knights into the four-team conference tournament and keep the season alive.
— UCF Men's Soccer (@UCF_MSoccer) November 5, 2017
#11 – Football: #14 UCF 31, SMU 24
UCF held off SMU in a battle, as with 5:10 remaining in the game, SMU wideout Trey Quinn dropped a pass on 4th-and-3 that would have given the Mustangs a first down deep in UCF territory. UCF would win the game that also had questions on the status of Scott Frost, who was expecting his first child and was ready to leave at any moment if he got the call that his wife Ashley was about give birth.
#10 – Men’s Basketball: UCF 53, #15 Cincinnati 49
The UCF men’s basketball team earned the first signature win of the Johnny Dawkins era on February 26th, as the Knights defeated American Athletic Conference-leading and #15-ranked Cincinnati by a score of 53-49 at CFE Arena. The win was the fourth-ever victory for UCF over a ranked opponent and the first since the Knights defeated #4 UConn in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament on Nov. 25, 2011. It was the second win over a ranked opponent at home and the first at CFE Arena.
#9 – Women’s Basketball: UCF 66, #22 USF 62
It was a landmark night for the Women’s Basketball program on February 14th. Led by a career-high 34-point effort from junior Aliyah Gregory, UCF posted a 66-62 win over #22 USF in the War on I-4 contest in the Sun Dome. The victory was the first for the Knights over a ranked opponent in the Division I era. The win was also the first for UCF over USF since Dec. 10, 1980, in a neutral site contest prior to moving to Division I in 1984-85, according to UCF Athletics.
#8 – UCF Men’s Golf Wins Regionals, Advances to Nationals
Junior Manuel Elvira, junior Juuso Kahlos and sophomore Kyler Tate each carded birdies on the 18th hole on the final day. Senior Ryan Stovash knocked a six-iron onto the green on his second shot, then buried a 15-foot curling putt to tally an eagle. Those five strokes under par on the final hole were enough to win the tournament, knocking off No. 2-ranked Vanderbilt, No. 14 Clemson and No. 39 Kennesaw State. Those three teams finished tied for second at 1-over for the tournament, while UCF finished 1-under.
#7 – 2017 American Conference Women’s Golf Championship
Senior Ashley Holder’s par putt on the 18th hole clinched three championships: Holder’s individual AAC Championship, UCF Women’s Golf’s AAC Championship, and the War on I-4 All-Sports Trophy. But the Knights had to come from behind to win the championship on a dramatic day.
#6 – Men’s Basketball: UCF 63, Illinois State 62 (NIT Round of 16)
B.J. Taylor scored 22 points, including a pair of free throws with 1.3 seconds to go, as the Knights came back from down 18 early in the first half and 13 at halftime on the road to beat Illinois State 63-62 and advance to the NIT Elite 8 against Illinois.
#5- Women’s Soccer: UCF 2, #4 North Carolina 1 (2OT)
UCF Women’s Soccer was coming into 2017 with questions after missing the NCAA Tournament in 2016. The Knights were not expected to contend for the American Athletic Conference championship. But we would soon find out that the Knights were in for special season as they hosted the flagship program in Women’s Soccer in #4 North Carolina on August 25th.
The Knights trailed early 1-0 but bounced back to even the match which would go into overtime. In one of the greatest soccer matches ever played at UCF, Christine Creighton would score the game winner in the 2nd OT to give the Knights 2-1 win over the Tar Heels, giving Head Coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak and the Knights a signature win in 2017 and setting the tone for a memorable season.
#4 – Men’s Basketball: UCF 68, Illinois 58 (NIT Elite 8)
#3 – Baseball: UCF 3, USF 2 – UCF Wins AAC Regular Season Title
In what turned out to be a winner-take-all AAC Regular Season Championship game, the Knights beat the Bulls 3-2 to win their first Baseball Conference Championship in the American.
T-#1 – Football: #15 UCF 49, USF 42 – War on I-4
It was the most hyped and biggest War on I-4 Game in rivalry history. The winner advances to AAC Title Game – something the Bulls have never accomplished – while the Knights came in looking to go 11-0 in front of a sold-out crowd and large TV audience on ABC. The game lived up to the hype and then some.
T-#1 – Football: #14 UCF 62, #20 Memphis 55 (2OT) – AAC Championship
With a trip to the Peach Bowl and a conference title on the line, Scott Frost’s last game at Spectrum Stadium as UCF Head Coach turned into the highest-scoring Conference Championship game ever.