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Seven Incredible Facts About UCF’s Gasparilla Bowl Win over Florida

The Knights’ win over the Gators was truly a historic one

Isaiah Bowser
Photo: Noah Goldberg

The UCF Knights’ 29-17 win over the Florida Gators in the Gasparilla Bowl was a truly historic one for the program.

But it wasn’t just the fact that it was the first time that UCF had ever beaten mighty Florida.

The Knights made some real history on Thursday night, and thankfully, Knight Nation was on top of it, as they are when it comes to touting the history of our young program. #UCFTwitterMafia is always at its best in those moments.

Here are the seven most incredible facts that came out of the Knights’ win over the Gators:

1. The Knights have won their most recent meetings against Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Florida.

It’s true:

  • Alabama: 40-38 in 2000
  • Auburn: 31-24 in the 2018 Peach Bowl
  • Georgia: 10-3 in the 2010 Liberty Bowl
  • Florida: 29-17 in the Gasparilla Bowl on Thursday night

2. UCF is one of only seven teams with 50 wins or more over the last five seasons.

I guess this makes us a real blue blood:

And yes, it’s the first time in school history UCF has achieved that. But it probably won’t be the last.

3. UCF defeated Florida despite losing 27 players off the roster from the start of the season.

Gus Malzahn said it in his post-game interview, and it’s really remarkable when you sit back and think about it.

Among those who weren’t available:

  • Starting QB Dillon Gabriel
  • WR Jaylon Robinson
  • RBs R.J. Harvey and Bentavious Thompson

Oh and on defense:

  • DBs Jarvis Ware and Derek Gainous
  • LB and leading tackler Bryson Armstrong
  • DT Kalia Davis

And that’s just the guys who were out for the year, not to mention all the guys who missed time at various points in the season or weren’t 100%.

So a patchwork UCF roster went into Tampa and physically dominated Florida on both sides of the ball. Amazing.

Speaking of defense:

4. UCF’s defense has held its opponents to 17 points or less in eight of the Knights’ nine victories.

The only game UCF won while giving up more than 17 points was the opener against Boise State.

5. UCF is the first team from the state of Florida other than FSU or Miami to beat the Gators since 1938.

This one is my favorite: It has been a long time since any team from the Sunshine State other than Miami or Florida State has beaten Florida. To put that into perspective, not only was this one year before World War Two, but:

  • Florida State was an all-women’s school in 1938, would not go co-ed for another decade, and would not play Florida for another two decades.
  • Miami and Florida played each other for the very first time that season.
  • That Stetson game in 1938 was the season opener. UF also lost to Georgia, Boston College, Miami, Mississippi State, and Temple that year. Rough going.
  • It would be another 19 years before Stetson would drop Football
  • The Citrus Bowl was two years old.
  • Pinecastle Field, which would later become Orlando International Airport, was still five years from existence.
  • Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, its first-ever feature film, nationwide.

6. UCF is undefeated against in-state opponents since 2016

We own this state:

During that same stretch, here are the records against in-state opponents for the other four Power Six teams in the state during that time frame:

  • Florida: 6-1
  • Florida State: 2-7
  • Miami: 7-3
  • South Florida: 1-6

7. UCF has not lost at Raymond James Stadium since 2016.

UCF really is Tampa’s Hometown Team, Too. In fact, Brett McMurphy comes off the top rope with this remarkable factoid:

Oh, and guess where the final War on I-4 for the foreseeable future will be in 2022?

That’s right: Tampa.