East Carolina–UCF football rivalry
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The East Carolina–UCF football rivalry is an American college football rivalry game played by the East Carolina Pirates football team of East Carolina University and the UCF Knights football team of the University of Central Florida. The teams first met in 1991, but for the majority of the rivalry both teams were members of the same conference – first Conference USA (2005–2012), and now the American Athletic Conference (2014–present).
|First meeting||September 21, 1991|
East Carolina 47, UCF 25
|Latest meeting||October 19, 2019|
UCF 41, East Carolina 28
|Next meeting||September 24, 2020|
|All-time series||East Carolina leads, 10–8|
|Largest victory||UCF, 63–21 (2017)|
|Longest win streak||East Carolina, 4 (1991–1996, 2006–2009)|
UCF, 4 (2016–present)
|Current win streak||UCF, 4 (2016–present)|
|Locations of ECU and UCF|
East Carolina holds the advantage in the overall win-loss record in the rivalry series, 10–8. The series has been marked by periods of alternating winning streaks. East Carolina won four of the first five games, but UCF has won four of the last five. Five of the games in the series have been decided by seven points or fewer, while three were decided by more than twenty points.
First Games (1991–1996)Edit
The Pirates have been considered one of UCF's main rival's due to the number of meetings and the comparable size of the programs. East Carolina joined Division I-A (FBS) in 1978, while UCF did so in 1996. The Pirates joined C-USA in 1997, and the Knights followed from the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in 2005. The similarities and histories between the two programs fuel the fire in this rivalry. The first game in the series was played on September 21, 1991 between coach Bill Lewis's Pirates and coach Gene McDowell's Knights in Orlando, Florida. The Pirates won the first four games of the series, in 1991, 1993–94 and 1996.
Conference foes (2005–present)Edit
Beginning in 2005, both teams started playing annually as members of C-USA. In 2005 the Knights gained their first football victory over East Carolina, a 30–20 victory in Greenville, North Carolina. After the win, the Knights would lose the next four contests. Since 2010, the Knights have won two of the past three match-ups, losing to the Pirates in Greenville in 2011. From its one-sided domination by East Carolina in its first few years, the East Carolina–UCF football rivalry evolved into one of the most evenly matched and hardest fought during the two teams time in Conference USA (C-USA). The games often affected the standings in the conference's eastern divisions, and evenly more frequently affected whether a team qualified for a bowl game.
The contest between UCF and East Carolina determined the winner of the C-USA Eastern Division numerous times. In 2007, UCF's only conference loss came at the hands of the Pirates. In 2008, the Pirates returned the favor and won in overtime to secure the C-USA East title. A UCF loss at East Carolina also determined them as the Eastern Division champions in 2009, while a UCF win at home was the difference in 2010 and 2012.
Conference realignment changed the rivalry once again, when UCF was admitted to the Big East Conference (later realigned as the American Athletic Conference), an Automatic Qualifying conference, for the 2013 season. In 2012, it was announced that the Pirates would follow the Knights to The American in 2014 as an all-sports member. In 2012, the series conclusion with both schools as members of C-USA, the Knights earned a 40–20 victory over the Pirates.
In May 2014, The American announced that as of the 2015 season, both schools will be a member of the East Division.
The 2014 meeting, which was the regular season finale for both teams, notably was a deciding game for the 2014 AAC conference championship. A 51-yard hail mary pass on the final play of the game gave UCF a shocking 32-30 victory, and clinched the Knights a share of the 2014 conference championship.
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Since 1991, the Pirates and Knights have played twelve times. East Carolina leads the series 10–8. The game has been played in two cities and three stadiums: Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina, and the Citrus Bowl and Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, Florida. East Carolina leads the series in Greenville (6–4), while it is tied in Orlando (4–4).
|East Carolina victories||UCF victories|
- College Football Data Warehouse, East Carolina vs. UCF. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
- "Divided loyalties for booster Dowdy". Orlando Sentinel. September 25, 2009. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
- Iliana Limón (June 29, 2013). "Big East finally announces UCF is joining league". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
- "It's Official! UCF Joins BIG EAST Conference". University of Central Florida. December 7, 2011. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
- At the time UCF and East Carolina announced their respective conference moves, their destination conference was known as the Big East Conference. Following a 2013 split of the conference along football lines, the two schools' new league now operates as the American Athletic Conference.
- "Big East to add Tulane, East Carolina". USA Today. November 27, 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2012.
- East Carolina was originally invited to join the then-Big East for football only. Shortly after the conference split was formalized, East Carolina's membership was upgraded to all-sports. Associated Press (March 27, 2013). "All 19 East Carolina sports on move". ESPN.com. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
- "Tulane, ECU to Join Big East in '14, Leaving C-USA". ABC News. November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
- "American Announces Football Divisional Alignment For 2015". American Athletic Conference. May 30, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014.