ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Today’s game marks the third annual #UCFinSPACE game honoring the University of Central Florida’s connection to the United States space program, located in central Florida at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The theme for today’s game, “Rendezvous With the Stars,” celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the successful Apollo 11 mission and historical moonwalk by Neil Armstrong.
“Space Game” Attire Celebrates All Things Space
John Heisler reported in his article, “UCF Football Uniforms Have Become A ‘Thing’,” that today’s uniforms give UCF a reason to tribute its early years–the late 1960s when the original unofficial UCF mascot was the Citronaut, a nod to both the Florida citrus industry and to the university’s connection with NASA and the space program, which both began in 1963.
Modeled after the dark and light side of the moon, each helmet, hand-painted by Schutt Sports, represents the dark and light sides of the moon. The “321” number found on the helmet’s front bumper represents the “countdown” and the Space Coast’s area code. The back of the helmet states: “One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind.”
Jersey and Pants
The Knights’ constellation jersey highlighted the names of the different streets located on the Knights’ main campus. The Pegasus constellation replaced the regular pegasus logo normally located on the players’ shoulder. The design of the players’ pants had USA vertically shown in red, resembling the vertical red USA marking on the Apollo 11 rocket. An image of the “Citronaut” appears on the team’s jersey and pants. To learn more about UCF’s Space Game attire, visit http://www.UCFSpaceGame.com.
Today’s “Guest” Mascot
Citronaut, UCF’s first unofficial mascot, first appeared in the 1968-69 school catalog. The Citronaut mascot accompanied the official mascot, Knightro, to cheer on the home team Knights to victory over the Houston Cougars.
The UCF Knights (6-2, 3-1) showed a slow start at the beginning of today’s showdown with the Houston Cougars (3-5, 1-3). Houston scored the first touchdown of the game within the first three minutes by Car and kicker D. Witherspoon for a beginning score of 7-0, Houston. Witherspoon picked up a 45-yard field goal with 5:29 remaining for a 10-0 lead over the Knights. The Knights’ offense began to organize themselves and Williams completed a 6-yard touchdown pass from Gabriel. UCF’s kicker Barnas picked up the extra point for a score of 10-7, Houston. Both teams continued to battle it out and picked up another touchdown each by the end of the first quarter for a score of 17-14, Houston.
UCF entered the second quarter organized and ready to show the fans their presence. Quarterback D. Gabriel kept possession of the ball for 22 yards into the end zone for a UCF touchdown and UCF’s first lead of the game with Barnas moving the score to 17-21. Houston’s Witherspoon earned the Cougars two field goals during this quarter: the first at 4:00 left of the quarter and the second as the clock counted down to halftime. These scores provided Huston with the lead 23-21 at halftime.
The Knights regrouped during halftime and returned to the field determined to regain control. Five minutes into the quarter, running back B. Thompson scored a 47-yard touchdown and Barnas’s kick was good for the extra point (23-28 score), returning the lead to UCF. Wide Receiver T. Nixon completed a 34-yard pass from Gabriel for a touchdown with another extra point (23-35, Knights). With 40 seconds left on the clock for the third quarter, Thompson and Barnas earned the Knights one more touchdown (23-42), providing the Knights with a comfortable lead going into the fourth quarter.
In the final three minutes of the game, Houston shrank the Knights’ lead to 29-42 with a touchdown, but was unsuccessfully in a 2-point conversion attempt. The final score for the “space game” was a two-point safety for the Knights (29-44), successfully sacking Houston in their end zone. This is the first safety UCF has earned since their August 31, 2017 match against FIU.
The UCF Knights won with a final score of 29-44 over the Houston Cougars.
Sara-Beth Colón Jeffrey is the Education & Technology Associate Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com
2023 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl: LSU Routs Purdue University 62-7
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – The LSU Tigers faced the Purdue University Boilermakers in the 2023 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium Monday. The Tigers made their sixth Citrus Bowl appearance, last appearing in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl back in 2018 and LSU’s current coach, Brian Kelly, was ironically the head coach of the opposing team that year, Notre Dame. Needless to say LSU came into Monday’s game with considerable experience.
For Purdue’s part, their team is still working on gelling together with new head coach Brian Brohm, who admitted during the head coaches press conference Sunday that “everything is still in flux” for his team with his brother Jeff Brohm, who had coached for six seasons, leaving to coach the Louisville Cardinals.
The quick version: The LSU Tigers absolutely devoured the Purdue Boilermakers in Monday’s Citrus Bowl match. The Purdue defense was nearly non-existent in the first half, allowing a whopping 35 points before halftime. 35 points.
Want to see the carnage unfold in detail? Keep reading.
Halfway through the first quarter (7:01) LSU got on the board with a touchdown with running back John Emery Jr.’s one-yard scramble into the end zone.
With 1:06 left in the first quarter, LSU scored again with running back Noah Cain rushing the ball nine yards, making the score 14-0.
With 1:01 left in the first, on Purdue’s next possession, wide receiver Ben Van Noord fumbled the ball, which LSU safety Major Burns recovered, giving LSU the ball again–in the same spot just 20 yards away from the end zone. However, after review, the call was overturned, giving Purdue the ball back.
The Boilermakers remained scoreless, however.
LSU’s carnage continued in the second quarter. The Tiger scored their third touchdown early in the quarter (13:03) with Daniels’s 32-yard pass to tight end Mason Taylor, creating a point canyon for Purdue to have to cross, 21-0.
With 8:32, LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels chose to keep the ball and nearly broke away for the touchdown rush, but was tackled
Cain finished the job for LSU, rushing in the final nine yards for the touchdown, 28-0 after the extra point.
Halfway through the second quarter, on Purdue’s possession, they were set up to punt, but instead successfully made the fourth down conversion with a first down.
With 3:11 left in the second quarter, LSU devastated Purdue. Purdue quarterback Austin Burton’s end zone pass intended for Paul Piferi got intercepted by LSU’s Camdyn Childers. LSU then made good on the pick and got their fifth touchdown in five plays for 87 yards, blowing out the score to 35-0 with 1:07 left in the first half. By the 0:14 mark, after both teams used a time out, both teams let the clock run out and headed to the locker room. The official halftime score: 35-0.
In the first half, LSU clocked 249 passing yards to Purdue’s 73 and 115 rushing yards to Purdue’s 15. LSU was five of seven on third down conversions compared to Purdue’s three of nine. LSU’s defense sacked Purdue’s quarterbacks three times for a total loss of 21 yards and made six Purdue tackles for a total loss of 28 yards.
Purdue quarterback Austin Burton was 11 of 21 on passes for 73 total yards in the first half. Running back Devin Mockabee led Purdue in rushing with eight for a total of 73 yards.
LSU showed no signs of stopping in the third quarter. On LSU’s possession, Purdue’s defense broke up a touchdown pass on the first down. However, LSU made up for it on second down with wide receiver Malik Nabers’ five-yard pass to Jayden Daniels, making the score 42-0.
At 9:17 in the third, LSU safety Greg Brooks, Jr. intercepted Purdue quarterback Michael Alaimo’s attempted touchdown pass, after which LSU players ran to the sideline to celebrate with Cheez-It mascot Ched Z and jumped on the Cheez-It bed set. As expected, they earned an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Interestingly, so did head coach Brian Kelly a few seconds later.
Ironically, with 5:23 left in the third, Purdue finally fed LSU a taste of their own medicine. LSU quarterback Garrett Nussmeier’s attempted touchdown pass intended for wide receiver Kyren Lacy was intercepted by Purdue cornerback Jamari Brown.
Purdue didn’t capitalize on their next possession, though, and as soon as LSU got the ball back, Nussmeier passed to Nabers, who ran the ball 75 yards for LSU’s seventh touchdown, making the score 49-0.
Purdue finally hammered their way to a touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter with an eight-play scoring drive for 75 yards, making the score 49-7. Alaimo made the successful 16-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver TJ Sheffield.
With 8:47 left in the game, LSU answered Purdue with another touchdown. Safety Derrick Davis Jr. ran the ball 12 yards to the endzone for the 56-7 score.
At 6:01 in the fourth, Purdue wide receiver Deion Burks was running to catch a pass when LSU safety Sage Ryan, attempting to break up the pass, fell on him, causing Burks to get injured. the clock stopped.
While scoring stalled for most of the fourth, LSU managed one last major stinger. LSU safety Quad Wilson intercepted Purdue’s punt return and ran it all the way across to the other end zone–99 yards–for LSU’s ninth touchdown. The extra point attempt failed, but LSU was able to secure their 10th season win as the 2023 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl Champions with a 62-7 final score.
2023 Cheez-It Bowl Postgame Press Conference
Purdue head coach Brian Brohm, and wide receivers TJ Sheffield and Elijah Canion as well as LSU head coach Brian Kelly, wide receiver Malik Nabers and cornerback Jarrick Converse spoke with the media.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org
VIDEO: 2022 Cheez-It Bowl Postgame Press Conference
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – The head coaches from Oklahoma Sooners and Florida State Seminoles, as well as both quarterbacks and players from both teams talk with the press after FSU’s 35-32 victory over Oklahoma during the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium.
2022 Cheez-It Bowl: FSU Secures 25th 10-Win Season with 35-32 Win Over Oklahoma
ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – The Florida State Seminoles entered Thursday’s Cheez-It Bowl hungry for a win to make this another 10-win season for the university, which hasn’t happened since 2016.
At just 11:26 in the first quarter, FSU got on the board first with a 23-yard field goal, making the score 3-0.
Oklahoma quarterback and former UCF Knight Dillon Gabriel answered back with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jalil Farooq, giving Oklahoma a 7-3 lead with 7:01 left in the first.
On their next drive, FSU attempted a fourth down conversion, but Oklahoma’s defense prevented it, allowing them to get the ball back.
At the start of the second quarter, Gabriel, seeing the defense crowding out any passing chances, scrambled and flipped over two Seminole players to land in the right corner of the end zone for Oklahoma’s second touchdown, quickly widening their lead to 14-3 after the successful extra point.
With 9:53 left in the first half, Oklahoma made a field goal attempt, but it failed.
With 7:24 left in the first half, FSU finally made their first touchdown with quarterback Jordan Travis’ 16-yard touchdown pass to Ontaria Wilson. Immediately following the touchdown, FSU successfully made a two-point conversion, shrinking Oklahoma’s lead to 14-11.
FSU defensive back Shyheim Brown was down, lingering on the field during the final timeout of the first half. With some help, he was able to walk off the field. To close out the first half, Oklahoma nailed a 41-yard field goal, making the score 17-11.
FSU tried to make a score on its next possession with 15 seconds left in the first half, but it didn’t quite happen. Travis rushed the ball himself 26 yards for a first down, and on the next play kicker Ryan Fitzgerald attempted a 45-yard field goal, but it fell just short of the goal post, cementing Oklahoma’s 17-11 lead at halftime.
Oklahoma’s offense was much more proactive in the first half, going five of nine on third down conversions compared to FSU’s one of six.
FSU running back Treshaun Ward scrambled the ball one yard into the end zone for FSU’s next touchdown, snatching the lead by one point, 18-17.
With roughly a minute left in the third quarter, during FSU’s attempt to make good on a fourth down, Travis passed the ball directly into Oklahoma defensive back Billy Bowman’s hands, forcing what was already going to happen anyway: Oklahoma’s next possession.
The score remained 18-17 at the end of the third quarter.
Oklahoma changed that at the start of the fourth, with Sawchuk running the ball three yards for their next touchdown, followed by their own successful two-point conversion, propelling them far ahead again, 25-18.
On FSU’s next possession, Ward came through clutch again, rushing straight up the middle and breaking away from the crowd to freely rush 38 yards for their next touchdown, tying the score at 25.
At 9:41 in the fourth quarter, FSU’s Omarion Cooper forced Oklahoma’s Sawchuk to fumble the ball, which was recovered by FSU’s Jammie Robinson. The drive ended in Travis’ pass to Markeston Doulas for the touchdown. After the extra point, FSU led 31-25 with 7:22 left in the game.
Oklahoma was able to tie the game again with another touchdown.
FSU broke the tie on fourth down with Ryan Fitzgerald’s 32-yard field goal with 55 seconds left in the game.
The game ended with another sack on Dillon Gabriel, his seventh for the night.
FSU got their 25th 10-win season with Thursday night’s Cheez-It Bowl victory, 35-32.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com
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