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NCAA Football History - Central Florida Golden Knights History
UCF Fight Song
UCF charge onto the field, with our spirit we’ll
Black and Gold - Charge right through the line
victory is our cry... V-I-C-T-O-R-Y. Tonight our Knights
U-C-F Knights... UCF let’s go Knights!
Quarterback Daunte Culpepper is named to the Playboy All-America
team and earns preseason All-America honors from several
publications, including Sports Illustrated, The Sporting
News and Football Digest. He is profiled in nearly every
major newspaper from New York to Los Angeles and is the
subject of television features on numerous outlets including
Good Morning America, ESPN, CNN/SI, Hard Copy, George Michael
Sports Machine, and ABC Nightly News.
UCF starts its most anticipated, and ultimately most successful,
season with a convincing 64-30 win at Louisiana Tech in
a showdown of two of the nation's top quarterbacks, Culpepper
and Tim Rattay. A week later Culpepper does it again, accounting
for seven touchdowns and earning USA Today Player of the
Week honors in a 48-0 win against Eastern Illinois.
UCF makes its first national television appearance when
ESPN televises its game at Purdue. The Golden Knights come
up empty on three first-half attempts inside the Boilermaker
20-yard line and end up on the losing side of a 35-7 game.
UCF strings together five consecutive wins for its best
start in school history at 7-1 and Mike Kruczek, named interim
head coach after Gene McDowell's resignation January 20,
has the interim title traded for long-term contract Nov.
UCF's bid to spoil Auburn's homecoming falls painfully
short as a late fumble-while UCF attempts to run out the
clock-leads to the game-winning touchdown for the Tigers
in a 10-6 heartbreaker.
UCF wraps up its most successful season with a pair of
wins at home, including 38-6 triumph against New Mexico
in the finale, to finish 9-2.
Culpepper breaks Steve Young's 1983 single-season completion
percentage record of 71.3 by completing 73.6 percent of
his passes and becomes only the third player in NCAA history
to pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for more than
1,000 yards in a career. He ends the season with more than
30 school records to his credit and becomes the first UCF
football player to have his jersey retired.
The Golden Knights accept a conditional bid Dec. 1, to
the O'ahu bowl in Hawaii. That sweetness turns sour Dec.
5, when UCLA is upset by Miami, forcing the bowl to take
a team from the PAC-10 to fill the opening.
Gene Chizik's hiring as defensive coordinator proves to
pay quick dividends as UCF finishes 26th in the nation in
total defense after ranking 81st a year earlier. Kruczek's
offense finishes sixth in the nation in passing yards per
game and seventh in the nation in total yards per game.
Culpepper finishes third in the nation in passing efficiency
and third in total offense, while receiver Siaha Burley
ranks fifth in receptions per game, seventh in punt return
average and 14th in receiving yards per game.
Culpepper finishes sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting
and is named national Co-Player of the Year by the Sports
Network, along with Texas running back Ricky Williams. He
is also named Dream Team Player of the Year by the NFL Draft
Football News names Culpepper it's Independent Player of
the Year and bestows All-Independent honors on offensive
linemen Marcus Jenkins and Cornell Green and defensive tackle
Culpepper becomes UCF's first NFL first- round draft pick
as the Minnesota Vikings select him 11th overall. Cornerback
Paul Miranda is taken in the fourth by the Indianapolis
Colts. Jenkins signs with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free
agent, while Burley signs with the Miami Dolphins, Green
signs with the Atlanta Falcolns, and Reginald Doster signs
with the Oakland Raiders. Deon Porter signs with the Edmonton
Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.
UCF starts the season with the toughest September schedule
in the nation, facing four bowl winners from the previous
year. All four teams enter the game ranked in the top 25.
#22 Purdue opens the slate in Orlando in front of 40,112
fans in the Citrus Bowl and a 5.5 rating in the Orlando
market on Sunshine Network. UCF, playing its first top-25
opponent at home, scores on its opening drive but surrenders
47 unanswered points to see its school record 11-game home
winning streak snapped with a 47-13 loss.
Back-to-back losses at #4 Florida and #12 Georgia Tech
led up to a thriller at #9 Georgia. Trailing 24-17 late
in the fourth quarter, Vic Penn hits Page Sessoms in the
endzone for a touchdown, but Javier Beorlegui's extra point
attempt hits the upright and bounces away. UCF marches into
field goal range (20 yard line) with 22 seconds remaining,
but a questionable offensive pass interference call in the
endzone seals UCF's fate, a 24-23 loss.
In addition to its foes on the field, UCF is forced to
face weather concerns as well. The team juggles practice
times and locations in preparation for the Georgia Tech
game in order to avoid rain from Hurricane Floyd. A month
later UCF shuts out Nicholls State 28-0 in the Citrus Bowl
in a blowing mist, the remnants of Hurricane Irene which
passes southeast of the stadium earlier in the day.
UCF gets another chance to spoil Auburn's homecoming, only
to see the game slip away in the final minutes again. Trailing
10-7 with less than four minutes remaining, the Tigers explode
for 21 points in a span of 97 seconds to take a 28-10 win.
UCF's tough season comes to a disappointing close at home
when Bowling Green comes back from a 24-12 fourth-quarter
deficit to win 33-30 in overtime.
Head coach Mike Kruczek further establishes his reputation
for designing potent offenses as UCF finishes the season
ranked 15th in passing offense and 22nd in total offense
in spite of the daunting schedule. Junior college transfer
Vic Penn does an admirable job of replacing All-American
quarterback Daunte Culpepper and finishes 12th in the nation
in total offense with better than 295 yards per game.
Ricot Joseph blocks a school record three punts on the
year, two of which are returned for touchdowns, and returns
a punt blocked by Elliot Shorter for a touchdown as well.
In all, Charles Huff's kick block squad nullifies eight
kicks on the year (five punts, two field goals, and one
Defensive tackle Justen Moore registers 12 tackles behind
the line of scrimmage on the year to finish as UCF's career
leader in that category with 36. He is named to the Football
News All-Independent team along with safety Damian Demps,
center Chris Lorenti, and receiver Charles Lee.
Lee finishes the season one reception shy of the school
single-season mark with 87 catches on the year. He finishes
sixth in the nation in receptions per game and ninth in
yardage per game, and is drafted in the seventh round by
the Green Bay Packers.
The team completes a successful campaign with a 7-4 record
and notches its 12th winning season in the past 15 years.
The season begins on a down note as Georgia Tech scores
two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the game for
a 21-17 victory. The other three losses were as a result
of turnovers as UCF gives up the ball 17 times in those
UCF grabs the biggest win in school history by defeating
traditional power Alabama 40-38 in Tuscaloosa to spoil the
Tide's Homecoming. Javier Beorlegui launches a 37-yard field
goal with three seconds left to cap a 12-play, 59-yard come-from-behind
drive to secure the victory. The game is characterized by
tremendous momentum swings as Alabama scores 24 unanswered
points in one stretch followed by 27 unanswered for UCF.
Vic Penn's separated shoulder in the game against William
and Mary opens the door for redshirt freshman Ryan Schneider,
who goes 8-of-16 for 115 yards and three touchdowns in his
first outing. Schneider finishes the season ranked ninth
in national passing efficiency (146.98) and 17th in total
Damian Demps interception deep in UCF territory in the
final seconds preserves UCF's 20-16 victory on the road
at Louisiana Tech.
A record crowd of 50,220 fans flock to the Florida Citrus
Bowl to watch the Golden Knights take on Virginia Tech,
the highest-ranked home opponent ever (#8). Six turnovers
prove costly as the Hokies go on to win 44-21. UCF's defense
finishes the season ranked 19th in the nation in take-aways.
The Golden Knights intercept opposing QBs 15 times (ranking
15th) and force 13 fumbles (25th). Nine different Golden
Knights intercept at least one pass during the year. The
defense also tallies 35 sacks.
The team finishes the season with an RPI ranking of 46
and is ranked No. 50 in the final Football News poll. Statistically,
UCF finishes 2000 ranked 12th in the nation in passing (295.18),
35th in scoring offense (30.27), 28th in total defense (323.82),
33rd in scoring defense and 23rd in passing defense (192.91).
Wide receiver Tyson Hinshaw hauls in a UCF-record 89 receptions
in 2000, finishing the year second in the nation with 8.09
catches per game. Hinshaw also finishes the year 10th in
receiving yards per game (99.00).
Tito Rodriguez finishes second in the nation in tackles
per game, Elton Patterson finishes 15th in sacks per game
and Tony Hardman ties for first in fumbles caused and recovered
Kenny Clark plays in the Blue-Gray game, and also plays
in the Rotary Gridiron Classic along with Chris Lorenti,
Kurt Baumann, and Tyson Hinshaw.
Tyson Hinshaw, Chris Lorenti, Javier Beorlegui, Josh McKibben,
Elton Patterson, Tito Rodriguez, and Damian Demps are named
to the Football News All-Independent team.
Ryan Schneider, Tyson Hinshaw, Javier Beorlegui, Josh McKibben
earn spots on the College Football News.com All-Independent
team. Ryan Schneider and Tyson Hinshaw are twice named Independent
Player of the Week by College Football News.com, and Schneider
is twice named Independent Player of the Week by USAToday.com.
Tyson Hinshaw and Chris Lorenti sign with the NFL's Tennessee
Titans as free agents, while Kenny Clark signs with the
Minnesota Vikings and Damian Demps signs with the Green
Bay Packers. Vic Penn signs with the Canadian Football League's
British Columbia Lions.
UCF finishes the season 6-5, including a perfect 5-0 at
home, in what will turn out to be the team's last season
as an independent. It's the Golden Knights' third winning
season in the past four years. Three of the five losses
are by a touchdown or less.
The season starts with a very disappointing loss at 19th
ranked Clemson. It is a game UCF wins statistically, leading
Clemson in every category but the most important one, the
final score. A fake field goal resulting in a touchdown,
and a missed extra point by UCF prove to be the difference
in the 21-13 defeat.
Due to the tragic events of September 11, UCF and Louisiana-Lafayette
join the rest of the nation in postponing their game. Coaches,
players, students, and fans take the weekend off and join
the country in mourning the losses of the victims and the
The weekend after the game cancellation, UCF travels to
the Big Easy and takes on Tulane in the Louisiana Superdome.
UCF comes up with its first win of the season thanks to
redshirt freshman Alex Haynes. Haynes rushes for 148 yards
and a school-record four touchdowns in the 36-29 win. It's
Haynes' second consecutive 100-yard rushing game.
Four road games and more than a month into the season,
UCF finally plays its first home game at the Citrus Bowl.
The Golden Knights give the eager home crowd plenty to cheer
for in a 24-7 victory against UAB. UCF turns in its best
defensive performance of the year and holds UAB to 111 yards
of offense. Elton Patterson leads the way for the defense
with 14 tackles, including five behind the line of scrimmage,
two sacks and also forces a fumble.
UCF's three game winning streak ends with a disappointing
30-27 loss at Utah State. After falling behind 17-0 in the
first quarter, UCF comes back in the second when Asante
Samuel blocks a field goal that Travis Fisher picks up and
returns for a touchdown. With the Aggies leading 30-27 in
the final minutes of the fourth quarter, a UCF fumble at
the Utah State 23-yard line and ends UCF's hopes of victory.
The biggest news of the season comes off the field when
UCF finally finds a conference home after competing as an
independent since the inception of the program in 1979.
After years of waiting and months of speculation UCF signs
an agreement Nov. 1, to enter the Mid-American Conference
and compete in the East Division. The move is only for the
football team so the rest of UCF's athletics teams remain
in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Mike Kruczek gets his 25th victory as a head coach of the
Golden Knights when UCF tops future MAC rival Akron two
days after UCF's entrance into the conference is announced.
Fueled by Akron's taunting antics before the game, the Golden
Knights score a school-record 50 points in the first half
en-route to a convincing 57-17 win.
Steve Edwards and Elton Patterson earn Football News honorable
mention All-America honors and are named to the Football
News All-Independent team along Alex Haynes, Josh McKibben,
Tito Rodriguez, and Asante Samuel. McKibben and Rodriguez
are also named to the Collegefootballnews.com All-Independent
team along with Tavirus Davis and Ricot Jospeph. Rashad
Jeanty and Haynes earn third and fourth team Freshman All-America
honors, respectively, from The Sporting News, and Jeanty
is named second team All-Freshman by Football News. Joseph
is named second team Verizion Academic All-American.
-McKibben, Roriguez and Edwards are all invited to play
in the Rotary Gridiron Classic with teammates Javier Beorlegui
Travis Fisher and Mike Hedge.
UCF plays its first season as a member of the Mid-American
Conference and finishes runner-up in the East division with
a 6-2 record. The Golden Knights finish 7-5 overall, completing
their 14th winning season in the past 17 years.
UCF opens the season in front of its largest crowd ever
when it travels to Penn State. The game is also televised
by ESPN, marking the second time UCF has appeared on national
television. UCF battles to the end, but comes up short 27-24
in front of a crowd of 103,029. Freshman kicker Matt Prater
makes his debut and shows he is not intimidated by connecting
on three of four field goal attempts, including a 53-yarder.
UCF makes its second national television appearance of
the year when it squares off with Marshall in Huntington,
W. Va. UCF again comes close again, but falls 26-21. The
Golden Knights turned the ball over twice on drives late
in the fourth quarter.
After spotting the Broncos 14 points in the first quarter,
UCF rallies on the road to defeat Western Michigan for its
first MAC victory. Asante Samuel's interception at the goal
line with 31 seconds remaining sealed the 31-27 come-from-behind
win for UCF.
Ryan Schneider makes his mark on the UCF record books with
440 yards passing against Syracuse. He tops the 300-yard
plateau seven times and the 400-yard mark twice en route
to setting school records for passing yards in a season
(3,770) and passing touchdowns in a season (31). He finishes
fourth in the country in passing efficiency and fifth in
Doug Gabriel breaks an 18-year-old school record when he
racks up 324 all-purpose yards against Syracuse. Gabriel
finishes the year with a school record 1,237 yards receiving
and combines with Jimmy Fryzel and his 1,126 yards to become
the most prolific single-season receiving tandem at UCF.
Fryzel finishes his career with at least one reception in
33 consecutive games, tying him with Charles Lee for second
all-time at UCF.
UCF begins construction on its new Wayne Densch Sports
Center. The $7 million, 44,000 square-foot home of UCF football
goes up in less than a year, giving UCF a new weight room,
locker room, coaches offices, and sports medicine facility.
Alex Haynes becomes the first from UCF to rush for more
than 1,000 yards in a season since 1995 when he carries
the ball 204 times for 1,038 yards. He makes up for lost
time by picking up 456 yards in the final three games.
Stanford Rhule (127), Peter Sands (119), and Atari Bigby
(104) top the 100-tackle plateau and become the first trio
at UCF over the century mark in tackles in a season since
Former football players Daunte Culpepper, Shawn Jefferson,
and Scott Ryerson take their place in the UCF Athletics
Hall of Fame, bringing to five the number of gridiron stars
enshrined at UCF.
Elton Patterson, Asante Samuel, and Atari Bigby earn first-team
All-MAC honors, while Ryan Flinn, Jimmy Fryzel, and Doug
Gabriel earn second-team honors. UCF has a total of nine
players earn Player-of-the-Week honors in the MAC's East
Division for offense, defense, or special teams.
Doug Gabriel becomes the first player from UCF to suit
up in the Senior Bowl, while Asante Samuel, Elton Patterson,
and Jimmy Fryzel appear in the Rotary Gridiron Classic.
Mike Kruczek coaches Team Florida against Team USA, coached
by Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen.
Four players hear their names called during the NFL draft
and five other players sign as free agents, making it the
largest NFL class from UCF in a single year. Those players
bring to 26 the number of UCF players who sign an NFL contract
in the past five years. Asante Samuel is drafted in the
fourth round by New England, Doug Gabriel is drafted in
the fifth round by Oakland, Mike Mabry is selected in the
seventh round by Baltimore, and Elton Patterson is taken
in the seventh round by Cincinnati. Ryan Flinn signs with
Seattle, Jimmy Fryzel signs with Miami, Mario Jackson signs
with New Orleans, Brian Huff signs with Green Bay, and Taylor
Robertson signs with Philadelphia. Robertson, from Ontario,
is also taken 13th overall in the Canadian Football League
draft by Calgary. After spring football junior Rashad Jeanty
leaves school and signs with Edmonton of the CFL.
UCF's football team moves into its new home as the state-of-the-art
Wayne Densch Sports Center opens just 16 months after the
clearing of the ground begins. The new building houses the
team's new locker room, weight room, training room, and
meting room, along with new offices for the coaches.
Record-setting quarterback Ryan Schneider is named to the
watch lists for both the Johnny Unitas and Davey O'Brien
awards and headlines a list of many UCF players garnering
individual attention prior to the season. He is in the company
of linebacker Stanford Rhule, who is named to the Butkus
Award watch list; tailback Alex Haynes, named to the preseason
Doak Walker watch list, and strong safety Atari Bigby named
to the Bronko Nagurski preseason watch list.
UCF opens its 25th season of football on national television
at ninth-ranked Virginia Tech. The Hokies open the ESPN
game with 28 unanswered points before UCF rallies with 21
of its own. Virginia Tech closes the game with 21 more points
to win 49-28 in front of the largest crowd to ever watch
a game in the commonwealth of Virginia in the newly expanded
Lane Stadium. Matt Prater makes his UCF punting debut with
a school record average of 55.7 yards on six punts.
True to his title, Schneider does it again as the senior
sets two new yardage marks en route to leading UCF past
Florida Atlantic in the home opener. Schneider passes for
497 yards and finishes with 501 yards of total offense.
He smashes his own passing mark and shatters Daunte Culpepper's
total offense mark.
Two more football players make their way into the UCF Athletics
Hall of Fame. Willie English, UCF's all-time leading rusher,
and David Rhodes, UCF's all-time leading receiver, take
their place alongside five other former Golden Knights.
Months of speculation turn to reality as UCF accepts an
all-sports invitation from Conference USA, which marks an
end date of 2005 for UCF's brief football affiliation with
the Mid-American Conference.
UCF gets blanked at Ohio 28-0 and one of the longest streaks
of its kind in the nation comes to an end. It's the first
time UCF is shutout in 209 games dating to 1984.
Prater breaks his own single-game punting average with
an average of 57.6 yards on seven punts at Ohio. He finishes
the season with an NCAA-leading 47.9 yard-per-punt average
en route to earning a spot among the Ray Guy Award Semifinalists
and garnering SportsIllustrated.com honorable mention All-America
The Orlando Sentinel announces its 25th anniversary team,
selected in conjunction with former coaches, administrators
and fans. Players from every era of the program are recognized,
including Bill Giovanetti from the inaugural team and Asante
Samuel, a 2002 graduate. Schneider's senior season ends
early due to suspension, halting his bid to top all of Culpepper's
records. He finishes his career at UCF with 10,976 passing
yards and 82 touchdown passes, second in both categories.
A rash of injuries, defections and suspensions leaves UCF
down on talent and the losses mount. After a 3-7 start,
Mike Kruczek is relieved of his coaching duties and longtime
assistant Alan Gooch is promoted to interim head coach for
the final two games.
Gooch makes his coaching debut when UCF plays Marshall
in front of an ESPN 2 television audience. It's the first
nationally televised UCF home game. Marshall comes out on
A national search leads UCF director of athletics Steve
Orsini to hire George O'Leary, the former Bobby Dodd national
coach of the year, as the new coach of the Golden Knights.
O'Leary finishes his commitment to the Minnesota Vikings
as defensive coordinator before turning his full attention
to UCF. In the meantime, O'Leary assembles a staff to work
in his absence. At his hiring press conference O'Leary calls
UCF a sleeping giant. His hiring prompts feature articles
in national publications such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN
the Magazine and the USA Today.
Prater and Bigby earn All-MAC honors. For Bigby it's the
second such first-team honor, while Prater earns second-team
honors for the first time.
Tight end Michael Gaines, who is ineligible for the 2003
season, plays in the Blue-Gray game and is drafted by the
Carolina Panthers in the seventh round. Offensive lineman
David Ashkinaz plays in the East West Shrine Game and joins
Gaines in the NFL when he signs with the Atlanta Falcons
as a free agent.
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