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2002 UCF Golden Knights football team

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The 2002 UCF Golden Knights football team represented the University of Central Florida in the 2002 NCAA Division I-A football season. Their head coach was Mike Kruczek, who was in his fifth season with the team. 2002 marked the Golden Knights first season in the Mid-American Conference, in the East Division. This was the first time UCF had joined a conference since ascending to the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision in 1996.

2002 UCF Golden Knights football
UCF Golden Knights logo.png
ConferenceMid-American Conference
DivisionEast
2002 record7–5 (6–2 MAC)
Head coachMike Kruczek (5th season)
Home stadiumCitrus Bowl
(Capacity: 65,438)
Seasons
← 2001
2003 →
2002 Mid-American Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
East Division
No. 24 Marshall x$   7 1         11 2  
UCF   6 2         7 5  
Miami   5 3         7 5  
Ohio   4 4         4 8  
Akron   3 5         4 8  
Kent State   1 7         3 9  
Buffalo   0 8         1 11  
West Division
Toledo xy   7 1         9 5  
Northern Illinois x   7 1         8 4  
Bowling Green   6 2         9 3  
Ball State   4 4         6 6  
Western Michigan   3 5         4 8  
Central Michigan   2 6         4 8  
Eastern Michigan   1 7         3 9  
Championship: Marshall 49, Toledo 45
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
Rankings from AP Poll

On opening day, UCF once again played up to a ranked opponent on the road, but failed to pull off the upset. Trailing 10–9 at halftime against Penn State, a near-disastrous third quarter saw the Golden Knights fall behind 20–9. In the fourth quarter UCF rallied. Quarterback Ryan Schneider capped off an 80–yard drive with a 6–yard touchdown pass to Tavaris Capers with 24 seconds to go. With the score 27–24, a failed onside kick attempt sealed the victory for the Nittany Lions.[1]

UCF's first conference game came on September 20 against eventual MAC champion Marshall. With Thundering Herd quarterback Byron Leftwich faltering throughout the night, UCF largely failed to capitalize. Trailing 21–26 in the final three minutes, UCF intercepted Leftwich, and subsequently drove to the Marshall 26–yard line. Facing 4th & 3 at the Marshall 26, Ryan Schneider was picked off by Terence Tarpley. Marshall ran out the clock, and held on for the victory. The Knights first conference victory in the MAC came at Western Michigan on October 12. Finishing the season with a winning record (7–5 overall, 6–2 conference), UCF did not receive a bowl berth.

ScheduleEdit

 
The Citrus Bowl, the Knights home field
DateTimeOpponentSiteTVResultAttendance
August 3112:10 pmat No. 24 Penn State*ESPNL 24–27103,029
September 710:00 pmat Arizona State*L 13–4643,401
September 207:00 pmat MarshallESPN2L 21–2632,900
September 286:00 pmLiberty*W 48–1720,416
October 123:30 pmat Western MichiganW 31–2721,505
October 196:00 pmToledo
  • Citrus Bowl
  • Orlando, FL
SUNL 24–2717,119
October 264:00 pmAkron 
  • Citrus Bowl
  • Orlando, FL
W 28–1718,278
November 27:00 pmSyracuse*
  • Citrus Bowl
  • Orlando, FL
ESPNL 35–3824,043
November 91:00 pmat BuffaloW 45–216,923
November 166:00 pmKent State
  • Citrus Bowl
  • Orlando, FL
W 32–67,354
November 231:30 pmat Miami (OH)W 48–317,962
November 301:00 pmOhio
  • Citrus Bowl
  • Orlando, FL
W 42–3212,462
  • *Non-conference game
  •  Homecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
  • All times are in Eastern time

ReferencesEdit