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UCF Knights “Rendezvous With the Stars” Space Game Ends in Victory Against Houston



FILE - UCF’s offense came alive against Houston at Spectrum Stadium (now Bounce House Stadium) Saturday, November 2, 2019. File photo: Leyton Blackwell/Florida National News.

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.

UCF’s original unofficial mascot Citronaut and current mascot Knightro watch a half moon together in this year’s “Rendezvous With the Stars” game day poster. Image courtesy of UCF.

UCF’s original unofficial mascot Citronaut and current mascot Knightro watch a half moon together in this year’s “Rendezvous With the Stars” game day poster. Image courtesy of UCF.


“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.


Helmet Design

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


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 Game

First Quarter

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.


Second Quarter

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.


Third Quarter

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.


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. |

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College Football

ESPN Events and the Orlando Sports Foundation Announce Title Sponsor of 2022 Cure Bowl



Photo: Matt Pendleton/USA TODAY.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Duluth Trading Company will be the title sponsor of the 2022 Cure Bowl, ESPN Events and the Orlando Sports Foundation announced today. The 2022 Duluth Trading Cure Bowl will be played at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, December 16 at Exploria Stadium – home of Major League Soccer’s Orlando City SC – and will be televised nationally on ESPN.

The Duluth Trading Cure Bowl matchup will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 4 with participating teams from the American Athletic Conference, Sun Belt Conference, Conference USA or Mid-American Conference.

“We are honored to have such a strong national brand like Duluth Trading Company join as title sponsor of the 2022 Cure Bowl, as the bowl continues its mission of bringing teams together to find a cure for cancer,” said Cure Bowl Executive Director and Orlando Sports Foundation CEO Alan Gooch.

“Duluth Trading Co. is proud to support the fight against cancer as the title sponsor of the Cure Bowl,” said Neala Shepherd, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience. “At Duluth Trading, we acknowledge the impact that cancer has had on the lives of our customers, employees and communities. Regardless of who you are cheering for, the one thing that unites all college football fans is the hope for a world without cancer.”

The Duluth Trading Cure Bowl is one of 17 college football bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events.

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College Football

UCF’s Football Venue, the Bounce House, Gets a New Name



UCF's football stadium gets a name change. Photo: University of Central Florida.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Source: UCF // The UCF Athletic Association and FBC Mortgage, LLC, have combined on a naming rights agreement for the Knights’ home football stadium that takes effect beginning with the upcoming 2022 season and will brand the UCF football venue as FBC Mortgage Stadium.


The 10-year, $19.5 million deal means UCF football teams will play their home games in FBC Mortgage Stadium through the 2031 football season. The new arrangement begins July 1–following its approval today by the UCF Board of Trustees.

“It’s an exciting day for UCF Athletics and for FBC Mortgage to be able to collaborate on the naming of our football stadium,” says Terry Mohajir, UCF vice president and director of athletics.


“Sellouts have become the norm at UCF. Our game day experience has been widely recognized–and I believe it is second to no one. Knight Nation has established the atmosphere at FBC Mortgage Stadium as one of the best in the country.


“We are building the future of college football here at UCF. This represents the next step for us as we reimagine our football campus—and we’re excited to have FBC Mortgage join us on our journey.”

“FBC was founded in 2005 in downtown Orlando, and we are very proud to partner with our hometown university, UCF,” says Rob Nunziata, FBC Mortgage co-CEO. “We would like to thank the UCF athletic department, especially athletics director Terry Mohajir and assistant athletics director Malik Thomas who worked very hard to make this sponsorship a reality…Go Knights!!”


“With many of our employees having attended UCF, this was a natural fit for FBC Mortgage–and it also helps us achieve our national growth expansion with a great partner in UCF,” says Joe Nunziata, FBC Mortgage co-CEO.


The first UCF football game to be played at FBC Mortgage Stadium will be the Knights’ 2022 season opener Thursday, Sept. 1, against South Carolina State (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+).


“On behalf of our football program, I would like to express our appreciation for the support of FBC Mortgage,” says UCF football coach Gus Malzahn whose first Knight team in 2021 finished 7-0 at home.


“This provides a legitimate boost to us when it comes to creating a great homefield advantage. We take tremendous pride in the environment at our home football games–and this only adds more luster to that.”


The crown jewel in UCF’s impressive athletics complex, the Knights’ football venue–first known as Bright House Networks Stadium–opened in 2007 and became Spectrum Stadium in 2017. The on-campus facility provides UCF one of the top venues anywhere in the Southeast. After spending the previous 28 seasons at the Florida Citrus Bowl (now known as Camping World Stadium) in downtown Orlando, the Knights made their debut in the new on-campus facility on Sept. 15, 2007, facing Texas. A capacity crowd was on hand for the game, which was televised live nationally on ESPN2. Two seasons later when UCF played host to Miami on Oct. 17, 2009, a facility-record 48,453 fans were on hand for the contest.


It has played host to conference championship games (Conference USA or American Athletic Conference) after the 2007, 2010, 2017 and 2018 regular seasons. Located on the north side of campus, the stadium features luxury boxes, a large club lounge and a natural grass playing surface.


UCF’s gameday football facility has added an impressive series of enhancements over the last seven years:


–2015: The stadium enjoyed its first major renovation with the addition of the Carl Black and Gold Cabana. This east-side premium area quickly became one of the signature UCF game-day experiences. The Cabana is a 10,000-square-foot, Florida-themed social area and lounge located between the 30-yard lines.


–2016: The video board was upgraded to a 114-by-36-foot LED display. It features a Daktronics 15MM HD pixel layout for excellent image clarity. The display also has variable content zoning, allowing it to show one large image or be divided into multiple windows to show any variety of live video, instant replays, statistics, scoring, graphics, animations and sponsorship messages.


–2017: The Carl Black and Gold Cabana was expanded via 2,921 additional chair-back seats and an open-air sun deck. Eight field-level cabanas also were added at the south end zone with access to the enclosed air-conditioned J and J Rosengren Lounge. The concourse between sections 108-113 was converted into the Stadium Club. That 3,344-seat premium area on the west side of the stadium provides access to dedicated food and drink options, as well as other amenities. In addition, a ribbon display in the south end zone was unveiled, with that display measuring more than seven feet high by 199 feet wide.


–2018: Field-level cabanas were added at the north end as well as south loge cabanas.


–2019: North loge cabanas debuted, and an additional 1,000 premium chair-back seats were added on the east side of the stadium, increasing the capacity of the Carl Black and Gold Cabana for a second time.

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College Football

UCF and Icon Source Collaborate to Bring NIL Marketplace Services to Campus



UCF Football photo: UCF Today

ORLANDO, Fla. – UCF Athletics announced Tuesday a collaboration with Icon Source, the premier name, image, and likeness marketplace in the U.S., to bring its unparalleled NIL expertise and new local exchange marketplace to UCF Athletics and student-athletes from all sports.

A new product from Icon Source, Icon Suite, will power a UCF-branded local exchange that will be available to all UCF student-athletes. The innovative tool simplifies connecting interested brands with student-athletes for NIL deals and the administrative processes around deal disclosure and compliance for UCF Athletics.

Icon Suite makes it easier than ever for local companies and Knight supporters to readily identify and access student-athletes for potential endorsement and sponsorship deals through a custom UCF marketplace. Through UCF’s Icon Suite software, Icon Source can also service local businesses and alumni by providing guidance, education, and facilitation of the student-athlete sponsorship process.

“Our student-athletes will have the best opportunities to benefit from their name, image, and likeness thanks to this first-of-its-kind venture,” said UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Terry Mohajir. “We’re setting the standard by bringing the marketplace to our student-athletes.”

As part of the collaboration, an Icon Source representative will be housed on UCF’s campus as an on-site resource for student-athletes. This is a new NIL service for UCF student-athletes, going along with the free legal and entrepreneurship services already provided to students on-campus.

Florida’s NIL law prohibits colleges and universities from compensating current and prospective student-athletes for NIL deals. UCF’s collaboration with Icon Source simplifies the process for student-athletes and corporate sponsors. These services are provided at cost to the athletes and with no compensation to the university.

“By bringing the marketplace to our campus, it gives our student-athletes the greatest advantage to prosper in this new era of NIL,” Mohajir said. “Icon Source is one of the leaders in this space and having them right here on our campus will give our student-athletes and associated brands optimal opportunities to benefit!”

Founded in 2018 by UCF alumnus and current chief executive officer Chase Garrett, Icon Source has been a trusted tool for professional athletes across all sports and their agents to connect with a broad group of brands and facilitate seamless endorsement deals and partnerships. In 2021, Icon Source expanded that work into the NCAA realm, working tirelessly to empower and protect student-athletes as they maximize their NIL potential.

Numerous national to hyper-local brands have directly connected with and endorsed student-athletes through Icon Source’s compliant marketplace and executed contracts using the marketplace’s wizard, which handles all the administrative aspects of name, image, and likeness dealmaking.

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