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UCF to Face Georgia Tech in Gasparilla Bowl

Knights face Yellow Jackets and former assistant Brent Key Friday, December 22 in Tampa

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Central Florida
Georgia Tech WR Nate McCollum fumbles the ball as UCF Knights DE Josh Celiscar (88) makes a tackle at FBC Mortgage Stadium in 2022.
Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The UCF Knights are heading to the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on December 22nd at 6:30 p.m. ET.

This will be the 15th Gasparilla Bowl, and it’s UCF’s sixth trip, the most of any bowl. The Knights are 3-2 all-time in the game, having won their last two appearances, including their defeat of the Florida Gators in 2021.

About Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech went 6-6 this year, finishing 5-3 and in fourth place in the ACC. Their year was the definition of up and down.

Their most notable win came at then-#17 Miami, courtesy of Mario Cristobal’s monumental late-game brainfart:

They also upset then-#17 North Carolina at home two weeks later.

They lost to #15 Louisville, #11 Ole Miss, Tommy Castellano and Boston College, at #22 Clemson and at home vs. #6 (then #1) Georgia.

This will be the sixth all-time meeting between UCF and Georgia Tech, all in the regular season. Four meetings have occured in Atlanta. Tech has won three of them, but the Knights have won the last two:

UCF vs. Georgia Tech

Year Result Score Venue UCF's Conference GT Head Coach Notes
Year Result Score Venue UCF's Conference GT Head Coach Notes
1996 L 27-20 Atlanta I-A Independent George O'Leary 5 UCF turnovers, Daunte Culpepper injured in 4th quarter
1999 L 41-10 Atlanta I-A Independent George O'Leary GT: 318 yards rushing
2000 L 21-17 Atlanta I-A Independent George O'Leary George Godsey (GT): 2 TD passes in final 3:48
2020 W 49-21 Atlanta American Geoff Collins Dillon Gabriel: 417 yards, 4 TDs in season opener (COVID)
2022 W 27-10 Orlando American Geoff Collins UCF won with 49 passing yards
Series: 3-2 Georgia Tech

The connections between the two programs are well-documented.

Of course, George O’Leary, who coached Georgia Tech in the first three meetings, coached UCF for ten years. Of note, Geoff Collins, who coached the Jackets in the next two — both UCF wins — was an assistant under O’Leary at UCF.

The last meeting was the only one in the state of Florida prior to the coming bowl game. UCF won courtesy of some outstanding special teams play:

Collins was fired after that game and replaced with Brent Key, who played for O’Leary at Georgia Tech and coached under him at UCF.

Key, who was once expected to replace O’Leary as UCF’s head coach before the program’s collapse in 2015, is 10-10 as Tech’s head coach since taking over for Collins, and coaches in his first bowl game this season.

UCF in the Gasparilla Bowl

As mentioned above, UCF is in the Gasparilla Bowl (formerly the St. Petersburg Bowl) for the sixth time, more than any other school. The Knights will face an ACC opponent for the second time:

UCF in the Gasparilla Bowl

Year Opponent Conference Result Score Stadium Attendance
Year Opponent Conference Result Score Stadium Attendance
2009 Rutgers Big East L 24-45 Tropicana Field 28,793
2012 Ball State MAC W 38-17 Tropicana Field 21,759
2014 NC State ACC L 27-34 Tropicana Field 26,675
2019 Marshall C-USA W 48-25 Raymond James Stadium 28,987
2021 Florida SEC W 29-17 Raymond James Stadium 63,669


The game is set for Friday, December 22nd at Raymond James Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and it will be televised on ESPN.