Each Thursday until the 2018 UCF Football season gets underway, Knight Sports Now will have a little fun with Throwback Thursdays. Every week, we’ll take a look at the Knights’ best game in each of their years competing at the FBS level. This week, we start with 1996.
UCF Football’s Best Game of 1996: 39-33 win vs. William & Mary
UCF opened a new chapter of its football history in 1996 when it moved to the FBS (then known as Division I-A). The Knights finished 5-6, with their top game from that year coming in the season opener against William & Mary. They won that game 39-33 to earn their first victory as a member of the FBS. UCF went on to lose four straight tough games after that, but as the saying goes, you never forget your first.
In front of an announced crowd of 18,013 at the Citrus Bowl, the Knights turned a 30-17 fourth quarter deficit into a 39-33 victory. That comeback was carried by quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who finished the day with 307 yards and three touchdowns to offset three turnovers. He totaled 105 yards in the fourth quarter alone, bringing UCF to a victory in its first game of the 1996 campaign.
The victory gained some more credibility after the fact as the Tribe went on to finish the season with a record of 10-3. The Knights, still going by the “Golden Knights” at the time, went on to beat Samford (38-6), Illinois State (42-15), UAB (35-13) and Bowling Green (27-19). Despite some of those wins coming by larger margins, UCF’s first-ever win in the FBS goes down as our top game of 1996.