The 2019 Fiesta Bowl against LSU on January 1st will be the UCF Knights’ 10th Bowl game in program history. Here’s a ranking of the previous nine:
9. 2016 Cure Bowl
Arkansas State 31, UCF 13
The Cure Bowl marked the Knights’ return to a bowl game after an 0-12 season in 2015. It also marked UCF’s return the stadium formerly known as the Citrus Bowl, which UCF called home until 2007 when the Knights opened their on-campus stadium. Unfortunately the Knights couldn’t overcome a number of miscues, falling to Arkansas State 31-13. Little would we know this would be the Knights’ last loss for a while.
8. 2014 BitCoin St. Petersburg Bowl
N.C. State 34, UCF 27
The Knights almost came all the way back from a 34-13 deficit in the fourth quarter before falling to North Carolina State, 34-27. Senior Josh Reese scored 3 touchdowns in the losing effort.
7. 2009 St Pete Bowl
Rutgers 45, UCF 24
The St. Petersburg Bowl was an incredible environment for UCF, as 20,000 of its fans packed Tropicana Field for the program’s 3rd-ever bowl game. But things would not turn out well for UCF as they allowed an interception return to sap their momentum and the Knights could not mount much of a comeback in a disappointing 45-24 loss to Rutgers in the second St. Petersburg Bowl.
6. 2007 Liberty Bowl
Mississippi State 10, UCF 3
In what turned out to be his last game as a Knight, Kevin Smith finished with 119 yards, leaving him 61 shy of Barry Sanders’ NCAA single season rushing record mark of 2,628 yards set in 1988. Smith and UCF’s magical season ended, falling to the Bulldogs in a defensive struggle, 10-3. UCF finished 10-4 on the season, fresh off winning the program’s first ever conference championship. This game would also be the first bowl game for many Knight fans to go to in person, as many could not make the expensive trip to the first bowl game in Hawaii in 2005.
5. 2005 Hawaii Bowl
Nevada 49, UCF 48 (OT)
UCF dropped a 49-48 overtime decision to Nevada in the 2005 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, the first bowl game in school history. The game did have one of greatest performances by any Knight in a bowl game as Brandon Marshall caught 11 passes for 210 yards and 3 touchdowns, including the last one with 55 seconds left in regulation from quarterback Steven Moffett to send the game to overtime. Unfortunately, the game would end in a shocking manner when Matt Prater missed the extra point that would have sent the game to a 2nd overtime. The Knights finished the season with an 8-5 record, just one year after going 0-11. The turnaround of seven games from 2004 placed UCF in a tie with seven other schools for the fourth-best single-season turnaround in FBS history.
4. 2012 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl
UCF 38, Ball State 17
Led by Blake Bortles and Latavius Murray, the Knights won their second bowl game in program history in dominating style, blowing out Ball State 38-17. Bortles capped his first by earning MVP honors,finishing 22-of-33 for 271 yards and three passing touchdowns. Bortles also led the team with a career-high 80 yards on the ground and another score. Murray was just as impressive, cashing in three touchdowns (all in the first half) and 104 total yards, with 71 on the ground and 33 through the air on a team-high six catches.
3. 2010 Liberty Bowl
#24 UCF 10, Georgia 6
When sophomore safety Kemal Ishmael batted down a Hail Mary pass that seemed to hang in the air, it gave the Knights the first bowl win in program history as UCF defeated Georgia 10-6. Sophomore tailback Latavius Murray was the game’s MVP, rushing for 104 yards on 18 carries and a 10-yard TD run with 9:01 to play to put the Knights ahead 10-6. They would hold on for good.
2. 2014 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
#15 UCF 52, #6 Baylor 42
The Knights’ first trip to Fiesta Bowl was a memorable one as they took a 52-42 triumph over #6 Baylor in the 2014 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The #15 Knights won their third-consecutive bowl game and finished the season 12-1, ranked 10th in the country. Junior quarterback Blake Bortles was named the Offensive Player of the Game after racking up 301 passing yards and three touchdowns to go along with a career-high 93 yards rushing and a touchdown.
1. 2018 Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl
#12 UCF 34, #7 Auburn 27
Behind 21 unanswered points in the second half, the Knights capped a perfect 13-0 season with a 34-27 win over #7 Auburn in the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day. Despite a lackluster first half, McKenzie Milton finished 16-of-35 for 242 yards and a pair of passing touchdowns and added a score on the ground, earning Offensive MVP honors.