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 morning, we continue with 2009.
UCF Football’s Best Game of 2009: 37-32 win vs. No. 15/13 Houston
UCF followed a disappointment-riddled 2008 season with a more promising 2009 season. The Knights may have taken close losses to Southern Miss and East Carolina and blowout losses to Miami and Texas, but they still finished the regular season 8-4. That record was good enough for an invite to the St. Petersburg Bowl.
The year ended in rough fashion with a 45-24 loss to Rutgers, but there was plenty to like about the 2009 season. The Knights won their last six conference games that season, but their most notable victory came on Nov. 14 against Houston, who was ranked No. 15 in the BCS Standings and No. 13 in the AP Poll. The win was UCF’s first-ever over a ranked opponent.
In front of an announced homecoming crowd of 36,776, UCF got out to a rough start. Houston quarterback Case Keenum, now a quarterback for the Denver Broncos, quickly showed why he was one of the nation’s top passers. After an early 33-yard field goal, the Cougars extended their lead to 10-0 on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Keenum to Tyron Carrier. The Knights cut the deficit to 10-3 midway through the second quarter, but Devin Mays returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to put Houston up 17-3.
Trailing by 14 late in the first half, the Knights got it together. Jonathan Davis ran for a four-yard touchdown with 1:18 left, which gave the home team some momentum heading into the locker room. Brynn Harvey ran for two touchdowns in the third quarter, one from the goal line and one from 41 yards out, to put UCF on top 23-17.
After Houston got within 23-20, the Knights took command of the game once again. Quarterback Brett Hodges hit Quincy McDuffie for a 24-yard touchdown, then Harvey found the end zone again. Halfway through the fourth quarter, UCF had a 37-20 lead. But just when it looked like they would coast to victory, Houston made things interesting.
Keenum put up two more touchdown passes to bring the deficit to five, but it was too late. UCF held on and picked up its first-ever win over a ranked opponent.
Hodges was efficient, completing 21-of-25 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown. He threw one interception, but did enough to complement his backfield. Harvey put up 139 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries. Keenum was pretty impressive for Houston, connecting on 33 of his 56 passes for 377 yards and three scores. He was let down by the run game, with his running backs combining for just 46 yards.
The Knights have won their fair share of games against ranked opponents since 2009, but this one will always be special. Beating a ranked conference opponent on Homecoming Weekend, especially when that opponent has a quarterback who went on to the NFL, is a big deal for a program that didn’t start playing FBS ball until 1996. There’s no better pick for UCF’s best game of 2009 than this one. Highlights from the game can be found below:
For previous Throwback Thursdays from Knight Sports Now, click here.